Hardy writes, ‘with a carelessness which was like the smile on the countenance of a skull. ‘ When Hardy talks about ‘smile on the countenance of a skull’, Hardy suggests that Boldwood looks like death. Hardy suggests this by using a simile and mainly due to imagery, so the reader can picture exactly how Boldwood looks. So overall Hardy tells us that good love does not change you and instead you try to receive true love by patience and by pleasing the person you love and not letting the person control your entire life so you are unable to do anything.
Boldwood is a prime example of not being good because his love for Bathsheba is preventing him from doing anything because he is so preoccupied by her. Gabriel asked Boldwood whether he had checked the ricks, but Boldwood had not checked them properly because he was still completely devastated that Bathsheba did not want to marry him. So here Hardy tells us indirectly that the type of love that Boldwood feels for Bathsheba is not good because it has practically destroyed him.
Boldwood even admits himself that his love for Bathsheba has ruined him because he says, ‘I am weak and foolish, and I don’t know what, and I can’t fend off my miserable grief. ‘ Gabriel on the other hand is perfectly back to his normal self and does not let his love for Bathsheba run his life in the way that it runs Boldwood’s life. During the whole conversation with Boldwood, Gabriel remained very calm and understood exactly how Boldwood felt. Gabriel listened very selflessly, even though he had been through the same situation himself.
Hardy writes, ‘Oak was just thinking that whatever he himself might have suffered from Bathsheba’s marriage, here was a man who had suffered more. ‘ In this case Hardy shows us Boldwood through the eyes of Gabriel and we can comprehend more easily the state in which Boldwood was in because of his of his love for Bathsheba. However, at the end of the novel, the reader comes to the conclusion that Gabriel’s patience and polite personality helps him to make a good friendship with Bathsheba. So his patience and good manner towards the situation helps him to get the girl at the end.
Basically Gabriel and Bathsheba’s love is based on friendship and Hardy suggests that this is a good type of love because both of them can talk to each other comfortably and light-heartedly. Hardy tells us directly about the type of friendship that has been formed between Bathsheba and Gabriel because in chapter 41, Hardy writes, ‘finding herself preceded in forethought by Gabriel Oak, for whom she began to entertain the genuine friendship of a sister. Of course, she sometimes thought of him in the light of an old lover, and had momentary imaginings of what life with him as a husband would have been like;’
When Gabriel intended on leaving Bathsheba and going to California, Bathsheba began to realise that she would not be able to do anything without him because he has always been there for her, for example at the time of the fire and during the storm. As well as that Gabriel has been there for her emotionally, for example when Troy died and during her dilemma regarding Boldwood and Troy. In this case Hardy suggests that true love is when you really get to know the person and you are physically and mentally incapable of living without the person.
The way in which Bathsheba speaks and what she says suggests that she is not able to live without him. An example of this situation is when she says, ‘And what shall I do without you? \ Yet now that I am more helpless than ever you go away. ‘ To prove that Bathsheba also needs him for her emotional satisfaction she says, ‘You’ve been with me for so long- through bright times and dark times- such old friends we are. ‘ Another example of Gabriel’s love being true and pure is when everyone begins to tell him that he should consider marrying Bathsheba, but unlike Boldwood, Gabriel does not wish to take advantage of her vulnerable state.
So here Hardy suggests that the good type of love is when you truly love the person and do not exploit the person. Hardy shows us that Gabriel’s love is good because he does not take advantage of Bathsheba’s state because his love is pure and his love for her is not selfish. An example of this is when Gabriel says, ‘And it is because of that very helplessness that I feel bound to go. ‘ Bathsheba, in chapter 56, begs Gabriel to stay and this chapter contradicts the previous chapter 4. These two chapters are remarkably similar in the fact that they are both associated with begging for love.
In chapter 4 Gabriel begged Bathsheba to marry him and in chapter 56, Bathsheba begs Gabriel to stay because she realises the value of the friendship between the two. Hardy tells us by writing, ‘she appeared to have outlined the only true friendship she had ever owned. ‘ As well as Bathsheba realising the intensity of her friendship with Gabriel, she also dismisses the concept of marriage being involved as a financial agreement. For example one of Bathsheba’s excuses in chapter 4 was that he was ‘better off’ than her and that she was penniless so he could not marry her, also she told him, ‘If you marry at all to marry a woman with money.
‘ This shows the social context of the book when people used to marry for money. Gabriel however does not marry for money because he loves Bathsheba and this makes the reader sympathise with Gabriel. Here Hardy suggests that marrying for love is good. In the end Bathsheba too marries for love and not for money. In conclusion Hardy, by using many different methods, tells us the type of love that Gabriel feels for Bathsheba is best. Hardy tells us that true love is when you are not selfish and think about the other person’s needs also Hardy tells us that true love comes from friendship.