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Free Study Guide for The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy-MonkeyNotes
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1. Hardy calls Michael Henchard "a man of Character" What does this expression mean and how apt a description of Henchard is it?

2. To what extent is character and to what extent is Fate responsible for the tragedy in The Mayor of Casterbridge?

3. Explain the structure of The Mayor of Casterbridge.

4. Explain how Elizabeth-Jane is developed in the novel.

5. Give Hardy's philosophy of life as reflected in The Mayor of Casterbridge.

6. "Conspicuously successful as he is in portraying men, he is even more eminently successful in his delineation of women". Do you think that this estimate of Hardy's character portrayal is born out by The Mayor of Casterbridge? Explain why.

7. Analyze the character of Donald Farfrae. Do you agree with the opinion that in the delineation of Farfrae's character Hardy disappoints the reader? Give reasons.

8. Explain how Hardy uses contrast in developing his characters in The Mayor of Castebridge.

9. In the novels of Hardy chance, accident, and coincidence play a very important part. Illustrate this in the context of The Mayor of Casterbridge.

10. Explain the role of the rustics in the novel and give examples.


The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author's life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.

In this set of PinkMonkey® Literature Notes for a well-known piece of literature, we at have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the Mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours. So is the interpretation of your teacher or professor.

Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, these PinkMonkey® Literature Notes will help you to accomplish that goal.

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