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Susan's ruined life is a direct result of Henchard's rashness; by extension, Elizabeth-Jane owes her very existence to Henchard's folly; Donald Farfrae receives his start from Henchard, and indeed Henchard's wild speculations and superstitious nature only help to advance Farfrae; and Lucetta's death is a direct outcome of her past relationship with Henchard. How is it, then, that the other characters in the novel keep our attention?
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.
One recalls that Lear rashly disowns his true and loving daughter, falls from the heights of regality into suffering and madness, and is briefly reconciled with her before his death.
The realization of this structural parallel strengthens our knowledge that the unity of the work is predicated on Henchard's character.
“Would Henchard let out the secret in his parting words? 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.In the last chapter he departs from the novel — and from this world — more impoverished, more wretched, barely in his middle-age, master of nothing.If the novel had begun with Henchard already established as mayor, the sale of his wife if pulled out of the closet of obscurity as an old family skeleton, would make the story preposterous.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.After all, his rashness precipitates the events which, once started, move unrelentingly on.The first two chapters of the novel and the very last serve as a frame for the core of the novel's story.Cole Magee AP Literature Block 2 10/16/2012 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.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.