Essay on Thomas Hardy's Philosophy on Life

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"Happiness is an occasional episode in a general drama of pain"-this is the conclusion drawn by one of Hardy's chief women characters, Elizabeth-Jane in his tragic novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. This is also the concluding sentence of the novel. We can imagine how much emphasis is put upon this observation made by a character who has throughout her life remained a passive sufferer, and therefore an observer, of human life, of human misery. This sad realization is not something that we find in this novel only; all of Hardy's so-called novels of character and environment reflect human tragedy after the grave and sombre manner of ancient tragedies. All the novels depict the despair and agony of man in eternal conflict with external as well …show more content…
It will be wise on our part to ignore the first part of his judgement and to agree with the second: the Return is not a classical tragedy but a typically Hardeian masterpiece. It contains all the material Hardy would be using in the future as a writer of the Mayor, Tess, or Jude.

The Background of Egdon Heath : First let us consider the background. Egdon Heath in this novel is much more than a landscape. It shows the juxtaposition of two entities: man and nature, the relation between whom is strange. In fact, the cohabitation of the two and the impact of each on the other was a matter of great concern to Hardy. In the Mayor, after Henchard has sold his wife off, the landscape outside is in its full glory and splendour. Hardy contrasts the apparently benign world of nature and the despicable world of man. But he warns us not to form a foolish notion of parallelism from this contrast because there are times when the elements of nature cry havoc and mankind sleeps peacefully. Hardy, it seems, wants us to believe that these two separate entities retain their own individual characteristics and are not influenced by each other. But afterwards the town of Casterbridge shows us a closer relation between man and his

locale. The Heath vibrates with the life of men who wander about in it; it remains a witness to all games that the natives play in the limited sphere of their life. In its vastness, in its

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