The Setting and Symbols in the Mayor of Casterbridge

Topics: Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge Pages: 4 (1404 words) Published: May 24, 2003
setting atmosphere mood symbol character coincidences
Modern critics consider Hardy a great writer and they consider The Mayor of Casterbridge one of Hardy¡¯s two great novels. Of all the Wessex¡¯s novels, however, this is the least typical. Although it makes much less use of the physical environment than do the others, we still cannot ignore the frequently use of symbols and setting in the novel. In my essay, I¡®ll analyze the function of the symbols and the setting in The Mayor of Casterbridge.

The setting place of this novel is Casterbridge (England), a fictional town based on the city of Dorchester. Unlike the other Wessex novels, the action does not revolve from place to place, but instead; everything is centered on the town, which characters leaving or entering Caseterbridge. as they are mentioned in the tale. At this extent, the town does have some features, which are important to the novel.

Definitely, it would not at all surprising us that Hardy gives a perfect description of the Wessex countryside, the detailed accounts of the daily goings in Casterbridge, even the dialects of the natives. By doing so, Hardy made us feel that ¡°we¡± ----the readers, are living in Casterbridge, we¡¯re undergoing all the events with the tragic hero ---Henchard. I think the settings here act as the symbolic reflections of impressions and get readers more involved in the novel.

For instance, in the first few chapters, Hardy goes out of his way to describe the very atmosphere of Casterbridge, its Roman ruins, its market place, its inns, its¡± grizzled church¡±, its High Street with its timber houses, its old gardens full of ¡±bloody warriors¡± and snapdragons, its disputable Mixen-Lane, its two bridges towards which¡± gravitated all failures of the town¡±. All these remind us that Casterbridge is dull and forbidden, full of age-old traditions and very much dependent upon...
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