The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
In The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, a person?s future lies in the hands of his or her past actions. The intelligent or ignorant decision that they make places an immediate or long-term effect on the rest of person?s life. Michael Henchard, whose interactions with the people of Casterbridge lead to his demise, is only one of the people who decide their own destiny through their actions. The decisions that the residents of Casterbridge make affect the rest of their lives. The good and evil characteristics which society possesses determine their fate.
The good qualities which a human holds leads to their future happiness. Initially, a person who understands their natural area results in a happy lifestyle for them. Farfrae, "determined to take him(Henchard) at his word," (105) illustrates his understanding attitude by showing no signs of anger or bitterness when Henchard fires him, and eventually Farfrae lives happily ever after with Elizabeth-Jane. Refusing to hold a grudge with Henchard for lying to him, Newson exhibits his worthy personality which gives Newson a prosperous life as the recognized father of Elizabeth-Jane. Appropriately, honesty provides for a life of pleasure. When Newson admits his plan of letting everyone think that he was lost at sea, it shows he is honest allowing him to live a successful life,. After Farfrae?s dismissal, Farfrae remains loyal to Henchard in that he promises not to detract from Henchard?s business which is inevitable; however, because of Farfrae?s sincerity, Farfrae leads a successful life. Farfrae?s superior reasoning skills and wit in his grain business and in his life deliver a most luxurious future. A person?s intellect basically results in an enjoyable life and future. Newson makes up a plan that if Susan "thinks me dead she?ll go back to him, and the child will have a home" (285), this shows his love for Elizabeth-Jane and in turn guarantee him a good life. Yet as the positive qualities of humans determine people?s destiny, the negative attributes of people decide their own fate.
As the good brings success, the evil characteristics of mankind insure a life of unhappiness and suffering. People?s natural desire to seek revenge causes their own demise. Jopp?s obsession to force Farfrae out of business was so strong that Jopp "was as unsafe a colleague as Henchard could have chosen" (179). Henchard?s own anger toward Farfrae for stealing Lucetta and initially causing Henchard to lose his business leads to Henchard challenging Farfrae in a fight to ones death. Henchard defeats Farfrae, but spares his life. Without doubt, irresponsibility causes painful situations that people must deal with, Henchard?s negligence to keep a close eye on his business results in the bankruptcy of the business. This unruly and negative behavior by Henchard and Jopp lead to both Jopp?s unemployment and Henchard loss of everything in his life that was important to him. Undeniably, the deceitfulness of humans? result in serious consequences, Susan?s lying to Henchard in the letter about Elizabeth-Jane not truly being Henchard?s daughter leads to her own death. Also Lucetta?s incompetence of writing the letters to Henchard instead of confronting him about her decision to marry fanfare leads to the skimmity-ride. The skimmity-ride that kills Lucetta, so actually due to her deceit she caused her own death.
Mankind?s future remains decided by his or her actions in the past. Positive qualities of humans such as honesty and humor allow people to live a prosperous life without encountering many obstacles that otherwise keep you down. Conversely, negative attributes of humans like vengeance and deceitfulness cause the downfall of person. The fate of society remains an extremely powerful force that only an individual can control. In conclusion, the individual holds the power to control his or her own destiny through their character?s use of either good or evil qualities.

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