The Mayor of Casterbridge is one of the most successful novels of Thomas Hardy. He is considered the greatest novelist of his age and he is widely known as the strong promoter of pessimism through his works. The interesting thing in his works is the role played by destiny. The dark side of human life is the bedrock on which his philosophy is based and this is what presented in his entire novels vividly. The novel the Mayor of Casterbridge is a pessimistic novel and it comes under the category of Hardy’s Wessex novels. The sub-title of the novel ‘the life and death of a man of a character’ gets you the whole essence of the novel. The setting for the happenings in the novel takes place in the fictious town Wessex, which is now known as Dorchester in Dorset. The major characters in the novel are Micheal Henchard, Donald Farfrey, Susan and Elizabeth Jane and a few minor characters such as furmity woman, Mr. Newson a sailor and Lucetta. The novel opens at a small village fair, where we can notice Henchard a young hey- trusser with his wife Susan and his daughter coming to the fair. Here, happen a few dramatic incidents like Henchard has drunk to the core and come out of his senses and sold out his wife and daughter to Newson for five pennies.
Realizing his costly mistake, He regrets and takes an oath that not to take liquor for 21 years and then leaves for the nearby town Casterbridge. As Henchard is man of character and deeds, he has risen to the position of Mayor to the town within a short period. After 18 years he happens to meet his wife and daughter and the other important character Farfrey enters and joins with Henchard as an employee. As the time passes the tables turned on Henchard and he started falling down from the heights he has reached. The ruthless destiny has played a crucial role in making Henchard’s life miserable. Eventually, the man of character has been shunned by everyone who once love him very much even by his daughter Elizabeth Jane. This book is a must read one. Though, it’s a tragic one, it will make you aware of how one’s egos and impulsive decisions lead them to their downfall.