Mayor of Casterbridge Tragic Hero Essay

Words: 1487
Pages: 6

Cole Magee
AP Literature Block 2
The Effects of a Tragic Hero in The Mayor of Casterbridge by: Thomas Hardy

Within the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy’s main character, Henchard, is displayed as a tragic hero who has started off in a high position but has fallen due to an unacknowledged tragic flaw. Henchard becomes an instrument for the suffering of the women around him, resulting from his ultimate failure to recognize his rash behavior. Henchard’s former wife, love affair, and “daughter” are all mutually unable to coexist with the ever-impulsive tragic hero. At the beginning of Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy achieves a realistic relationship in which the common man of Hardy’s era is able to make with the lifelike
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Therefore, Lucetta recognizes Henchard’s hamartia, or his inability to deal with his tragic flaw. Although Henchard’s past may have caught up to him, Lucetta rejecting Henchard for his past is a bit more than karma. Henchard’s rejection is the beginning of the tragic hero’s phase called nemesis, where the hero’s fate is not totally deserved. From the point where Lucetta ignores Henchard and on, is where Henchard’s fate is so stacked against him that it becomes undeserved. Additionally, Henchard’s thoughtless decision-making results in Lucetta dying from embarrassment of her past with Henchard. Henchard foolishly sends an untrustworthy messenger to deliver Lucetta extremely personal letters. Of course, the messenger gets drunk at a bar and reveals the letters to the public of Casterbridge. “Would Henchard let out the secret in his parting words? Her (Lucetta’s) suspense was terrible,” (249). Lucetta had a terrible feeling that Henchard would somehow allow the townspeople to see her letters to him, one way or another. Henchard’s flaw caused the townspeople of Casterbridge, including Jopp, to create a skimmity-ride. The skimmity-ride ultimately leads to Lucetta’s death. Essentially, Lucetta’s death was shown as Henchard’s fault, thus making him an even greater tragic hero. Lucetta moves to Casterbridge only knowing of Henchard being the mayor of Casterbridge, and not his tragic flaw of impulsiveness. Consequently, Lucetta is a certain victim of Henchard’s tragic