Mayor of Casterbridge
The greatest flaw in human beings is that we attempt to rationalize what is good and what bad. We have spent thousands of years manipulating, lying, abusing, and exerting propaganda in order to comprehend morality and rules. While it is human to possess a tragic flaw, when the tragic flaw affects beyond the principles of the individual, the individual loses any greatness they have achieved. The Mayor of Casterbridge distinguishes the character of Henchard through impulsiveness. His impulsive decisions affect many but specifically the characters of Susan, Elizabeth-Jane, and Lucetta. The female list of characters differs entirely, yet his actions surrounding their existence add to the tragic vision of this novel because Henchards impulsiveness is exemplified. The use of emotiveness makes his downfall more dark and insightful. As Henchard and his wife Susan enter Casterbridge for the first time, Henchard gets drunk off rum in his gruel. While this could be seen as unintentional, Henchard saw the woman spiking the gruel of others. This decision reveals that Henchard is a drunkard that makes irrational decisions based on his job as a low wage hay-trusser. He begins to jokingly sell his wife and child. However what starts as a joke proceeds to become a serious matter. This is impulsive as it is swayed by emotional or involuntary impulses. Though Henchard acknowledges what he did, he rationalizes this action with religion by swearing to not drink for 21 years. Henchard understands his action the next day and in a church he says “I, Michael Henchard, on this morning of the sixteenth of September, do take an oath before god here in this solemn place that I will all strong liquors for the space of twenty one years to come I have, being a year for every year I have lived”. What is significant about this quote is that he is acting as if he is aware of his impulsiveness, yet he finds comfort in proving to himself that he is in control of his actions....
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