The Mayor of Casterbridge Short Sample Answers

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The Mayor of Casterbridge tells the story of one man’s fall and another’s rise. Indeed, Henchard’s fortune seems inversely proportional to Farfrae’s: whatever Henchard loses, Farfrae gains. Is this a believable exchange? If not, is there something more important than realism suggested by Henchard’s relationship with Farfrae? 4

Discuss the role of coincidence in the novel. Many critics of Hardy have argued that the astonishing coincidences throughout The Mayor of Casterbridge make the story improbable and unbelievable. Do you think this is the case? 5

Discuss the role of the peasants of Casterbridge, such as Christopher Coney, Solomon Longways, Nance Mockridge, and Mother Cuxsom. 6

The Mayor of Casterbridge tells the story of one man’s fall and another’s rise. Indeed, Henchard’s fortune seems inversely proportional to Farfrae’s: whatever Henchard loses, Farfrae gains. Is this a believable exchange? If not, is there something more important than realism suggested by Henchard’s relationship with Farfrae?

In terms of realism, the relationship between Henchard and Farfrae seems too finely plotted to be wholly credible. Given Farfrae’s charisma, we might believe that he succeeds in winning the heart of Elizabeth-Jane and even in detracting from Henchard’s business by winning the hearts of the citizens of Casterbridge. But his successful seduction of Lucetta, his succession to the seat of mayor, his purchase of Henchard’s house, and his acquisition of Henchard’s ...

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