Thomas Hardy Question

Sunday, December 19, 2010

There is a discord in the nature of existence. Man is working to one end, Destiny to another. These ends may coincide or they may not. Either way it is Destiny who decides what shall happen. Discuss with reference to Return of the Native
The vital role of chance and incident (fate): Chances and coincidences play a vital role in all the novels of Hardy. In the work of no other novelist do chance and coincide exercise such a conspicuous influence on the course of events.
While a character is certainly responsible to a large extent, chances and coincidences often operate as the deciding factor. Hardy felt that an evil power ruled the universe, defeating every endeavor of man to better his fortune or to find happiness. He couldn’t believe in a benevolent Providence; events were too plainly ironical so they must have been contrived by a supernatural power. He believed that Fate and Destiny were sometimes indifferent; but often hostile to human happiness. In other words, when human beings are not themselves responsible for the frustration of their hopes, or when their temperaments and mutual conflicts do not wreck their happiness, fate intervenes in the shape of chance or accident to complete or contribute to their ruin. Hardy shows a persistent and bitter preoccupation with the sorrow of life. We certainly cannot deny the littleness and sordidness of human life. He attributes the tragedy to an “Unsympathetic First Cause” and he assures us that the “President of the Immortals had ended his sport with Tess”. The Return of the Native shows man as the helpless plaything of invisible powers, ruthless and indifferent. The characters have no such thing as free will.
The Reddleman’s chance meeting with the boy Johnny:   Johnny Nunsuch has overheard the conversation between Eustacia and Wildeve when the latter visited Eustacia in response to her signal of the bonfire. Johnny then meets the reddleman purely by chance. The reddleman learns from the...