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'Far From the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (985 words)
Categories: Character, Literature, Novels
Downloads: 31
Views: 328

Throughout “Far From the Madding Crowd we see profound changes in Far Boldwood’s character. At the start he is a quiet, aloof, gentlemanly man, yet by the end of the novel he is a crazed, obsessed shadow of his former self. It is Bathsheba Everdene who causes these changes in him. I think the statement “His equilibrium disturbed he was in extremity at once” is an accurate description of what happens to Boldwood.

We are first introduced to Boldwood in chapter 9 through second hand information, but then he knocks on Bathsheba’s door, at this moment in the book seeming very formal and stern. When he knocks on the door, Mrs Coggan answers it, making excuse about Bathsheba being busy. Boldwood says, “Oh very well, all I wanted to ask was, if anything had been heard of Fanny Robin? “. It is obvious that Boldwood shows no interest in Bathsheba at that moment. In chapter twelve Bathsheba goes to the corn exchange, when she arrives every single man turns round to look at her – except Boldwood.

He is, as the author describes, a “black sheep”.

This annoys Bathsheba, as she loves attention and is not used to being ignored by men. It seems at this point that Boldwood has no interest in women. It is in chapter fourteen when Boldwood’s “equilibrium” becomes disturbed. As a joke in chapter thirteen, Bathsheba and her servant Liddy sent a Valentine’s card with a small poem and the message “Marry Me” written on it to Boldwood. They are completely oblivious to the repercussions this will have. Boldwood becomes transfixed with this valentine, he is always thinking about it despite not wanting to and he starts to become obsessed.

This signifies the start of his descent into madness. For most of the night he remains awake, constantly thinking about the valentine and who wrote it. Even when he falls asleep he dreams of it. From this we can tell that Boldwood does not have a real sense of humour, he assumes that the valentine must be completely serious. At the end of chapter fifteen Boldwood discovers from Gabriel Oak’s information and by comparing writing that the valentine was sent by Bathsheba, but if anything this makes him feel worse.

Boldwood also feels slightly ashamed of himself for having revealed too much about his mood to Gabriel Oak, confirming his reserved disposition. In chapter seventeen Boldwood once again sees Bathsheba, at the Casterbridge market. The author uses the metaphor – “Adam had awakened from his deep sleep, and behold! There was eve! “. Boldwood, in his head, has already confirmed Bathsheba as the perfect woman for him. This is the first time in Boldwood’s entire life that he has really inspected a woman, and despite thinking Bathsheba beautiful does truly trust his own judgement.

He asks his neighbour “Is Miss Everdene considered handsome? ” It seems that Boldwood is insecure, and he is so used to the way he has lived his life that when Bathsheba enters it, it is as if she has permeated a bubble that Boldwood has always kept around himself. His life is turning upside-down. Boldwood then glimpses Bathsheba chatting with another farmer, and is instantly consumed with an extreme jealousy; he was “in extremity at once”. This shows that Boldwood is a possessive man; despite never having even talked to Bathsheba he feels that she is his, and this stranger is infringing on something that belongs to him.

We also see in this chapter that Boldwood is a shy man, as shown by his unwillingness to approach Bathsheba. Meanwhile, Bathsheba fears apologising to Boldwood as it could damage his pride, or make her appear too forward. She does not know that madness that is dwelling within him, and that had she apologised at this moment it might not have been too late to bring Boldwood back to normal. In Chapter eighteen Boldwood is feeling restless, pacing around his house. The author describes Boldwood’s feelings in this chapter, “If an emotion possessed him at all, it ruled him”.

This follows on from the line “His equilibrium disturbed, he was in extremity at once”. These sentences give useful insight into Boldwood’s thoughts and emotions. Boldwood is also summed up as “a hotbed of tropic intensity”. He is like a firework that Bathsheba has set off; Bathsheba has no idea what she has done, as Boldwood is able to mask the raging torment inside him with his usual passive expression. This shows that Boldwood seldom, or never shares his emotions and he is a very private person, no one ever knows what he’s thinking.

In this chapter Boldwood ventures out to Bathsheba’s farm where he sees her, Gabriel Oak and Cainy Ball, a farm worker. He then sums up the courage to talk to her and goes to do so in chapter nineteen. In this chapter, Boldwood manages to get Bathsheba alone and, mustering all the dignity he can manage, proposes to her. Bathsheba feels very bad about this, because she feels nothing for Boldwood and the whole situation is her fault. The proposal does not go well for Boldwood and when Bathsheba declines his offer he begins to ramble about how he would “protect and cherish her” and how she would “have no cares”.

Because Bathsheba feels so guilty about turning him down after sending the valentine, she tells him that she will give him her answer at a later date. This ends up causing far more havoc than if she had just flatly refused, but again, she is completely unaware of this. She was scared of his vehemence and wanted to get the conversation over with quickly and so did not completely refuse. In this chapter we see how persistent Boldwood is, his feelings are so deep that he could not handle Bathsheba’s refusal to marry him, and so would not take no for an answer.

Cite this essay

‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/far-from-the-madding-crowd-by-thomas-hardy-essay

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