For example, when asked if he knew who the woman he was talking to had been (Liddy), he replied to Bathsheba “I know her by sight”. This was also said as a way of protection. He also once lied to Bathsheba when showing her his sword fighting. He tells her that the sword is not very sharp until the end of the exercise, when he tells her the truth, ” this sword will shave like a razor”. It is from about this time that Bathsheba begins to realise that she is deeply in love with Troy, and has now forgotten about Mr. Boldwood. Bathsheba is attracted to a superficial man, however, only the reader can realise this.
There is an example of dramatic irony between these two characters when Troy has many faults such as gambling, womanising and the inability to settle and commit himself, not only are these faults but strong obsessions as well. These facts are all well known to the reader and the community in the story, but Bathsheba is oblivious to the fact. When infatuated and blinded from these facts, there can be tragic consequences. When Bathsheba realises for herself, that she loves sergeant Troy, Gabriel Oak reminds her of Boldwood’s prior claims. He also criticises troy, provoking Bathsheba to defend Troy.
The author of this book, Thomas Hardy, presents the infatuated Bathsheba as nai?? ve and blind. He directly contrasts Troy and Gabriel, where Gabriel acts as Bathsheba’s conscience, reminding her of Boldwood’s claims. Gabriel attempts of warning Bathsheba to resist Troy “before it is too late” is prophetic. When Boldwood finally realises that he has been rejected, he tries bribing Troy, so that he would be interested in marrying Fanny. However, it is too late, Troy and Bathsheba were already married. This just shows how obsessed with Bathsheba really is.
Troy doesn’t seem to notice or appreciate the love and infatuation shown by Bathsheba. This is shown on their wedding day, during the party, as he didn’t spend any time with her; instead, he got drunk and fell asleep in the barn with his friends. The storm that broke out could have torn everything down and broken the wicks, but Gabriel, being the only observant one there realised and saved everything before it was too late. Gabriel Oak dominates the beginning of the story and is described as a “young man of sound judgement ” and “general good character”.
He is a hard workingman, and has done so during the whole of his life to become the independent farmer that he was. Although he is attracted to Bathsheba, he notices that she is very vain. He is very honest, practical, trust-worthy and faithful. He is also strong as his name suggests. Gabriel is always in control of himself. He accepts the fact the Bathsheba does not love him so unlike Boldwood, leaves her alone. He also keeps to his word, for example, when he told her that he would no longer talk to her, he didn’t. Oak however, is a very trustworthy and loyal man.
Whenever Bathsheba was in a crisis, she always asked for Oak. An example of this is when her sheep had eaten some clover and fell ill. She relied on Oak to come and save them. When her farm went on fire, Oak was the mysterious man who helped and at her wedding, when there was a storm, Oak strengthened the wicks. In a crisis he acts calmly and bravely saving Bathsheba’s crops in the fire and storm. He honestly condemns Bathsheba’s conduct to Boldwood on a number of occasions, twice facing dismissal. He is dismayed by Bathsheba’s “infatuation” with Troy, attempting to warn her against trusting him.
When hiding his feelings he says “he adored Bathsheba”. Hardy points out the contrasts between homely Oak” and the attractive Troy whose “deformities lay deep down from a woman’s vision”. There is a big contrast between Oak and Troy. Another difference between these characters is that Troy gambles and Gabriel “reckons up the exact financial value” of each risk threatened by the storm. At the end of the story it turns for the better for Oak. He gets promoted from being the shepherd to the bailiff, his industry is awarded and he is offered a hare of the profits to manage Boldwood’s farm after his imprisonment.
Bathsheba realises at the end after Troy’s death, that she becomes weak and depressed and increasingly dependant on Gabriel. This helps her notice that she loves him and finally agrees to marry him. This shows that more or less the whole novel is about obsession between each of the characters. It also has a lot of romance in it with hard realism running through it. Additionally, it shows that not only is it the world that loses control in natural disasters but also people lose control in emotional disasters.