Bathsheba Everdene is the main character in a Thomas Hardy novel called “Far From the Madding Crowd”. Which is set in Wessex. Bathsheba’s character is along with many other things decisive, brisk, vain, businesslike, and independent. However you see her evolve throughout the book, mainly as a result of her marriage to Frank Troy. At the beginning of the story Hardy seems to focus on her bad qualities, though you still see people wishing to be married to her. Some good qualities are shown as well like her thoughtful response to save Gabriel’s life.
Her first fault is vanity.
This trait is mentioned in chapter one, almost everything else follows on from this. Vanity affects the way she behaves in a powerful way. Her vanity makes her annoyed and angry at not attracting Boldwood’s attention. When she meets Frank Troy he plays up to her vanity by paying her compliments and showing her flirtatious affection. By the end of the story she shows that she has grown out of or overcome her vanity.
Instead of wanting to stand out and have everyone looking at her, at Boldwood’s Christmas party, she dresses down and wants to merge into the background.
You can also see she is not vain because when Boldwood praises her beauty the comments have no effect. Her life experiences have caused this change in her. The main life experience is her marriage to Frank Troy which affected her the most. She transforms from a confident character to a submissive and introverted figure she becomes less and less like her usual self. The first sign you see of independence is fairly near the beginning in chapter three, when we see her riding the horse.
Instead of doing it the conventional ladylike way we see her lie flat on her back on top of the horse’s back. This could be showing her independence and unconventional behaviour, this would tie in with an independent spirit “too wild”. She likes to have independence so later on in the story when this is taken away from her we see her rely on Gabriel Oak. She always had her own independence, but when she got married she lost that independence and we see her seek advice and help from Gabriel Oak.
At one point in the story she rejects Gabriel’s advice, but later on in chapter fifty four she asks for it. This shows a big change in her personality. She once would have done her own thing and maybe even sacked Gabriel for his ‘advice’ whereas she now values both him and his opinion. Her independence continues to be shown throughout the rest if the story, even after her marriage to Frank Troy. Independence along with confidence is showed when she goes to the corn market and is the only woman there. Another characteristic shown is confidence with businesslike skills.
An example of this would be when she takes it upon herself to sack her bailiff. “I have formed a resolution to have no bailiff at all”. Bathsheba’s confidence continues to be shown with her decision to pay the workers herself in chapter ten. Bathsheba has a lot of confidence in herself. “In short I shall astonish you all”. This is said shortly after her decision to have no bailiff when she is convincing the staff that she can manage. The speech shows her self-confidence shining and her belief in her own ability.
Towards the end of the novel we see her find an even balance between the overconfidence which she showed through the beginning of the novel which made her appear full of herself, compared with when she had little or no confidence and relied on Frank Troy, to finally become a person who can cope on her own but realises she cannot do everything to the best of her ability without assistance. Before we see her lose her self confidence she shows she believes in herself by going to the Corn Market, making her the only woman present.
One thing bothers Bathsheba; the fact that Boldwood is the only person who does not take notice of her. This lack of attention shows us how she craves to be the centre of attention; you could even go as far as calling her an attention seeker. She will do silly antics in an attempt to attract people’s attention. For example the Valentine’s Day card. Bathsheba tries to make herself popular with everyone especially men; this seems to be her biggest desire. In chapter thirteen she mischievously sends a Valentine card to Boldwood to attract his attention. This starts Bathsheba’s change.
She wants people to notice her and does not sit around waiting she takes action for herself. The sending of the Valentines card shows her vain characteristic. A big characteristic she shows throughout is impulsiveness, she does things without thinking. The Valentine’s Day card is an example of this; another example of this earlier in the book is when she chases Gabriel Oak after he had been wrongly informed that many men wanted her hand in marriage; though she did not want to accept his proposal. She did not think that her actions would show this until after the conversation her and Gabriel had.
Many of her actions are on impulse she doesn’t think things through first. Later on however she takes time to think about Fanny’s grave and she decides to clean it up and replant the bulbs on it. This also shows she can be selfless. When Gabriel gives her advice early in the novel she decides she doesn’t like what he has to say. She sacks him whilst she was angry and acting highly impulsively. This demonstrates how she doesn’t want to face the truth even though she values his opinion; later in the novel after the “drowning” of Frank Troy she relents asking him for his thoughts.