The Mayor of Casterbridge Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 63 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Mayor of Casterbridge.
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Blind Fate

The idea of a blind, arbitrary fate is a central theme in Hardy's fiction. Although this fate is blind, it is not neutral but almost always cruel. It is a force that brings suffering and feels no pity or remorse.

In The Mayor of Casterbridge, blind fate manifests as a series of ruinous coincidences and un-foreseeable circumstances. Such coincidences and circumstances seem to conspire against Michael Henchard from the opening scenes. There are two shops offering food at the fair; one clearly advertises that it sells liquor, but the other seems not to do so. Susan, knowing Michael's weakness for alcohol, steers him to what seems to be the "safer" of the two establishments. But, as fate would have it, the proprietor there sells rum on the sly, and Michael is soon drunk and loudly insisting on his desire to sell his wife.

Next, along comes a...

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This section contains 582 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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