The name Michael Henchard fits the character; it sounds like wrench hard. Henchards personality dominates the novel, some would same that henchards character is complex, it’s made up of a mixture of positive and negative trails. He is a very superstitious man; he is a victim of fate.
I’m a strong believer that Henchard brought all his troubles on him self, but also was not the luckiest of men either. As I go though this essay I will be picking bits out of the story to prove what I have just said.
To some up Michael Henchards character perfectly would be to say that he is the tragic hero of the story. This means that he was the obvious hero of the story but under tragic circumstances. There are many terms, words, and phrases that would some up Michael Henchards character perfectly; such as cruel and impulsive at times, he was a very heavy-framed man.
In this part of the essay I am going to talk about how Henchard brought all his troubles on him self.
In think the first thing Henchard did wrong was to sell his wife. This is one of the most important parts of the novel. They both had enough of the old village they were living in, they though it would be bad for there daughter, Elizabeth- Jane. So they moved and set out to find a clean healthy town witch would be good for Elizabeth-Jane. On their travels they found a sign post saying the nearest village, it was Waydon.
As they were getting closer to the village they came across a man, he asked them if they were heading towards Waydon, “yes” Michael replied. The man told him if he was looking for any work,
” It is pointless looking in that village for work, there is nothing”
Despite this Henchard and Susan went on to the village to try and find some shelter. As they arrived at the village, they both noticed that there was a fair going on in the village, Susan was very worried when she saw a beer tent. She knew that when Michael has a couple of drinks he couldn’t stop.
Michael said to Susan that he wasn’t going to drink at all, he was only going to try and get some work and chat to the locals. So they went into the beer tent and Susan bought Michael a drink of furmity, Michael was not happy with just furmity he wanted to liven the drink up a bit, so he went to the bar lady and asked for some rum in his drink.
But as Susan though Michael kept going up for more rum and after a couple more visits he was shouting a lot and standing and benches shouting. At this point Susan was trying to ignore what Michael was saying, he was telling the whole village that he wanted to get rid of her, so he decided to sell her.
“Will anyone buy her”
He said with a loud voice Susan was begging him to come down off the benches and stop shouting before he does something he will regret.
Well, infact Michael did do something he regretted. A tall man entered the tent and wanted to buy Susan and Elizabeth- Jane. Henchard had offered ï¿½5 for the both of them, and the sailor who’s name was Newson agreed to Mr Henchards demands, he showed Henchard the money and off he went with both of them.
Before they went Susan threw the ring back at Michael.
The next mourning Michael had slept over night in the beer tent, he was thinking about what he had done, and he had just remembered what he had done. This showed a cruel and impulsive side to Michael Henchards character.
Another bad side to Michael Henchards character was when he sacked Farfrae. I think this showed a very two faced because he was very frendly towards Farfrae but as soon as Henchard finds out that most of the villagers like Mr Farfrae more than him, he sacks him. Mr Henchard doesn’t like the idea of Farfrae and his daughter being together either, in fact he sends Farfrae a letter saying he cant see Elizabeth-Jane again. This shows that Henchard finds it easier to express his feelings in actions rather than words, in most cases this is not the right way to go about your problems, this also shows when he falls out with Jopp.
Probably the changing point in the story was when Henchard and Farfrae had a fight over Abel Whittle. Henchard was getting fed up of Abel being late for work, he always used to lye in and not get up for work, well one day Henchard did something about it. He dragged him out of bed and pushed him on to the cart, just at that moment Farfrae turned up, and they both had a huge argument over what they should do. Farfrae sent Abel home to get dressed. This made Henchard even more furious
Another noticeable fault Henchard has is lying to people. When Newson came back to try and find Susan and Elizabeth, he tells and truth about Susan (she has died) but lies about Elizabeth-Jane. He says that she has died to, really she is healthy and well living with Lucetta.
He also loved Elizabeth-Jane when he thinks she is his child, and violently turns against her when he discovers her real parentage, never stopping to consider that in the circumstance it is hardly her fault! Similarly his great affection for Farfrae turns into great hatred which Farfrae hardly deserves.
This part of the essay shows clearly that Michael Henchard has brought all his trouble on him self, and it also points out main parts of his character. By this time he has got all of Casterbridge against him, and they’re fore no one like him at all. He is now a very lonely man, some would even say desperately lonely.
This part of the essay I’m going to be talking about how, he is a victim of fate and how very superstitious he is, also some of his goods sides to his character.
The first thing he did right was to take an oath after he had realised what he had done at the fair.
“I Michael Henchard on this mourning of 16th September do take an oath before god her in this solemn place that of 21 years to come, being a year of every year that I have lived. And I swear this apon the book before me and may I be truck dumb, blind and helpless if I break my oath.”
He can also act in a kind of honourable way. He does show a sense towards Susan, Elizabeth-Jane and Lucetta. Henchards plan for setting up a household for Susan then openly courting her shows concern for her reputation. Henchard has the power to harm his hated rival, Farfrae, when he reads out Lucetta’s letters and when he gets the upper hand of Farfrae in the Granary, but cannot bring himself to push home the advantage. Henchard could also destroy the romance between Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane by revealing that legally she is no ones child. Henchards moral sense guides him in these instances.
He desperately wants to know if he is going to have a good year with a crops or not, so he goes to the weather prophet to see what the weather is going to be like in the next year, he finds out that it is going to rain, and his crops will not grow. This shows that he is a very superstitious man.
I think that anyone how reads the book would say that he was a victim of fate. A good example of this is when he and Farfrae held a fair for the whole village, to celebrate the bank holiday. Farfrae had set up his fate indoors and Henchard had set his up out doors, and it rained, this was very unlucky. This was a sinister power working against him. He was also a very brave man; this was proven when he saved Elizabeth-Jane and Lucetta from the bull.
In conclusion to the question witch has been set, I think that he has brought on his troubles on him self, but also was not the most luckiest of men either. He was remembered for being a man of actions rather than words: capable of overpowering emotions. He gains our sympathy. He makes mistakes but experiences great suffering as a result; he has to learn to accept the workings of fate. He dies alone and defeated.