The sheep washing shows how Boldwood never gives up hope. Even later in the novel, when Bathsheba has turned him down several times, he asks for her hand in marriage on Christmas Day, so they can marry five years after the ‘death’ of Troy, which would make it legal. He is positive that she will say that she will marry him and she, not wanting to hurt his feelings, feels obliged to agree. After the shooting however, it all comes out just how desperate he is.
The murder is enough to show but he also has a ring, which he has had since the first time he asked her to marry him. Many presents are also found addressed to “Bathsheba Boldwood” and it is clear from them that Boldwood was a troubled man, slightly insane because of his love of Bathsheba.
At the Corn Exchange, Boldwood, who was itching to ask Bathsheba if he would consider marrying him, discovers that he cannot ask her yet.
She receives news that Troy has drowned and she is instantaneously gloomy. Boldwood knows straight away that now is not the right time. He does however realise now that he is free to ask her at any point, because Troy is gone. “His face flushed with the suppressed excitement of an unutterable thought,” which means that he is plotting to finally get the woman of his dreams.
Troy’s entrance has an overwhelming effect on Boldwood at the engagement party. Hardy reminds the reader of Boldwood’s prior loss of Bathsheba, when he describes Tory as being, “the impersonator of heaven’s persistency towards him, who had once upon broken in upon bliss, scourged him and snatched his delight away.” The usage of those strong, and rather violent words such as, “broken,” “scourged,” and “snatched” further highlights Boldwood’s painful suffering and foreshadows the violent actions to come.
Boldwood is shocked, as is everyone else, about the sudden reappearance of Troy. Everyone thought that he was dead, so no one can quite believe it. Troy then tries to get Bathsheba to come home with him. Bathsheba doesn’t move and Troy tries to pull her up, which is when Boldwood loses it. In a flurry of movement, screaming a smoke, Boldwood shoots Troy, who falls on the floor – dead. Everyone is greatly shocked. Hardy then describes how Boldwood crossed over to Bathsheba, kissed her hand and, “put on his hat, opened the door, and went into the darkness, nobody thinking of preventing him.” No one probably stops him because it is such a sudden shock. This shows how insane Boldwood has become.
In this novel, Hardy details often on the pain of love, and demonstrates to everyone the fact that love is not simple, and is a complex rollercoaster of emotions and there is more often than not more than two people involved. The two men are very different, but similar in some ways. Both are, obviously, bowled over by Bathsheba’s beauty and they are both highly respected gentlemen. They both display their emotions in very different ways however.
Sergeant Troy can keep his feelings well under wrap, not really letting on to many people how he truly feels. Boldwood however, cannot contain his emotions as well as Troy, so therefore, goes insane because of his love, or even lust, of Bathsheba, which appears much stronger than Troy’s, who really prefers Fanny. Bathsheba is more inclined to be with Troy because he is a young, dashing solider. She gives Boldwood the cold shoulder because he is an ageing, boring farmer, who cannot add the spice to life that she requires.
By Michael J. Ritchie
Michael Ritchie – 1 – Ms Farrell – English
Far From The Madding Crowd Coursework