How does Hardy present the idea ‘the pain of love’ in his depiction of the relationships between Bathsheba Everdene and Sergeant Troy, and Bathsheba and Farmer Boldwood? Thomas Hardy, born in 1840, divided his works into character and environment, romance and fantasies and novels of ingenuity, in which case Far from the Madding Crowd is in the first category. The original works were in the form of a series in the Cornhill magazine, which was so successful he was able to give up his job (as an architect) and devote his time entirely to writing.
Hardy is known for his controversial novels such as Jude the Obscure, but his best work is the world renowned Far From the Madding Crowd, which expresses the journey of Bathsheba Everdene and her loyal farmer, Gabriel Oak, who encounter love but at the terrible price of death and despair. This, perhaps reflecting the tragic loss of his own wife in 1912, sixteen years before his own death, in 1928. Bathsheba and Sergeant Troy’s first meeting outside the Fir Plantation, Troy flirts and compliments Bathsheba, by taking more time then is necessary to untie the knot that binds them.
Bathsheba, however she appears to be quite uncivilized towards him, “Thank you for the sight of such a beautiful face! He said. ‘Twas unwillingly shown” she replied, stiffly. This unkind manner attracts Troy to her and ignites a relationship between them, where Troy’s flirtatious and dishonest ways, already expressed in their first meeting, are destined to destroy it. Troy’s display of swordsmanship in Chapter 28, indicates another example of the pain of love, in which Bathsheba must sacrifice her own safety to be with Sergeant Troy.
Though Bathsheba, at first, oblivious to her near death, due to her believing Troy’s lie that the sword was blunt. Though Bathsheba does not object to him kissing her at the end of the chapter, after being made aware of his dishonesty. The relationship of Bathsheba and Troy, already beginning to fail due to Troy’s insensitive and lying persona, is made no easier by Fanny’s part in their lives. Ironically, it was her mistake, which brought together Bathsheba and Troy in the first place, unintentionally, and, unknowingly aided in the downfall of Bathsheba and Troy’s relationship.
For example, when Fanny meets Troy, though by accident, Troy tries to convince Bathsheba she is unknown to him, however Bathsheba begins to have doubts, especially after seeing a lock of hair in his watch, that was not hers. The argument that followed the discovery of the hair also lead to Troy leaving Bathsheba, to secretly meet with Fanny, and the next time she hears of Troy he is assumed dead. This expresses Hardy’s pain of love theory exactly, for Bathsheba who fell so quickly in love with Troy, and married him soon after, now expresses little feeling towards him leaving.
For example, in chapter 48, `Bathsheba underwent the enlargement of her husband’s absence, from hours to days, with a slight feeling of surprise and relief, yet neither sensation rose … `. Soon after the discovery of Troy’s apparent death, Boldwood immediately steps onto the scene to offer his hand in marriage. The first time Bathsheba saw Boldwood was at the market, however Boldwood did not pay attention to her presence, unlike all the other men. Bathsheba’s vanity, encouraged by Liddy, caused her to send a Valentine to Boldwood in the attempt to get him to notice her and partly as a joke, with the accidental seal of “Marry Me”.
Boldwood, having received the Valentine, become besotted with Bathsheba and soon called on her to accept the invitation of marriage. Though the answer of course was not what he expected. “I didn’t know… I ought never to have dreamt of sending that valentine – forgive me, sir – it was a wanton thing which no woman with any self respect should have done. If you will only pardon my thoughtlessness… ” Farmer Boldwood replied… “No, no, no. Don’t say thoughtlessness! … You torture me to say it was done out of thoughtlessness…
This outburst again shows the reader that Hardy can express the theme `the pain of love` so vividly. However, Boldwood does not stop and continues to express his want to have her. For example, “I may think of you? Yes, I suppose you may And hope to obtain you? No – do not hope! Let us go on”. This obsessiveness driven by the act of Bathsheba’s valentine proposes another effect of love. At the end of chapter 19, Hardy tells us that Boldwood is almost spellbound by Bathsheba and by her leaving, he comes out of this stupor, “like the pain of a wound… ” Another of Hardy’s pain of love themes.
Boldwood’s appearances from then on are stopped due to the arrival of Troy, who Boldwood at once is jealous of and wishes to extract him from their (Bathsheba and Boldwood’s) lives. The deal he tries to accomplish with Troy is of course a failure, however it proposes that Boldwood would do (or should I say ‘pay’) so much to expel him, and further expand his relationship with Bathsheba. His love for her, the reader could interpret as, is almost insane and compulsive. This is perfectly described in Chapter 53, where Boldwood begins to talk to himself. “I hope to God she comes, or this night will be nothing but misery to me!
O my darling, my darling, why do you keep me in suspense like this? ” However that is not the most important part of the chapter because of course this is the climax to the whole story and the final effects that love can have on somebody. ‘A strange voice came from the fireplace – a voice sounding far off and confined, as if from a dungeon. Hardly a soul recognized the thin tones to be those of Boldwood. Sudden despair had transformed him. ‘ Boldwood, at the realization of the return of Troy, and the conclusion that Bathsheba cannot be his, had the devastating affect of forcing him to take action. In the form of a bullet.
Aimed at Troy. His love for Bathsheba perhaps deluded him into it, showing that the pain of love has lead one man to his death and another to the noose. However we know that sentence was not carried out, life imprisonment instead, though in a way just as bad as the loss of life some could argue. Hardy is clearly well adept into conveying the pain of love as a theme, though not the main theme of the story. Hardy presents the idea of ‘the pain of love’ clearly in the two relationships that Bathsheba experiences, even in Oak’s relationship with Bathsheba, his offer of marriage is turned down, and not accepted till the end of the book.
Bathsheba’s relationship with Troy and Boldwood differ quite drastically. Boldwood is the calm farmer enticed by Bathsheba, and driven to killing another man. Troy is the dashing sergeant who seduces Bathsheba and causes their marriage to disintegrate due to his lies and deceit. Bathsheba also reacts differently to the two men. To Boldwood she thinks she is not good enough for him, and is almost scared of his persistence- ‘She was frightened as well as agitated by his vehemence’ She also taken aback by Troy, ‘Ah! There was a time Frank, when it would have taken a good many promises to other people to drag you away from me.
‘ She also is now quite sad to be married, preferring the unmarried version of him when it was dashing swordplay and romantic courting and love. However it is not the case with the married Troy, “What do you regret? ” He asked. “That my romance has come to an end”, she relied. The pain of love that the characters encounter, i. e. Boldwood’s hopeless love for Bathsheba, and Bathsheba’s own foolish love for Troy, and the final act leading to Troy’s (perhaps deserved) death, are all excellently and elaborately depicted by the most English of English novelists, in one of the most English of great English novels.