Present readers might perceive that Thomas Hardy's viewpoint in the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge is severe and depressing. However, most people adored Hardy during his living years. In an era when the Industrial Revolution was bringing dramatic and sometimes disturbing changes to England, he celebrated the nation's roots in its rustic past. In an era when new ideas like Darwin's theory of evolution challenged long established religious beliefs, Hardy showed that even the simplest people have, at all times, dealt with comparable eternal questions: How are humans to live? What determines an individual's destiny? Are humans self-determining beings? He spoke directly to the concerns of people vacillating on the verge of a new era. Though he dealt with key questions, Hardy was an immensely popular author for the reason that he believed in writing a good story. In addition, he liked writing about common people: their troubles, their success or failures, were in his vision, the most important material for an author.
Hardy was conscious of the latest scientific theories that were defying previous beliefs and other intellectual ideas. Though he wrote about uneducated rural characters in lonely hamlets or villages, he wrote from the point of view of a theorist who questions traditional beliefs. This voice is, undoubtedly, that of a disbeliever. He does not know whether God exists; he does not know if the universe works upon ethics of righteousness.
Depressing as his theoretical views may be, Hardy delights the reader with his lively characters and his profound care for the British countryside. He had a superior ear for local dialects. He had a painter's eye for theatrical views in nature.
Incontestably, Hardy speaks straightforwardly and strongly to some need within the populace. In addition, most individuals question destiny and hope that altruism will be rewarded. The Mayor...