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Word Count: 1,280
Since the late 4th century BC when Aristotle developed the model of the tragic hero authors have been creating novels patterned after this intriguing order of events In the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge Thomas Hardy develops Henchards character as he passes through each stage in the archetypal heroic pattern In this novel each principal stage of the heroic pattern shapes Henchards ever-changing character principally through his rise his climax and his demise As Hardys novel begins we read of Henchards humble position as a hay-trusser and his disgraceful sale of Susan his wife This humble beginning fits the archetypal pattern of the heros initial lowly circumstances The first sign of Henchards ascent from his lowly position occurs when he regrets selling his wife After unsuccessfully searching for his lost wife Henchard resolves to change his ways For this reason he enters a church making the following solemn oath as he is kneeling at the altar rail I Michael Hencharddo take an oath before God here in this solemn place that I will avoid all strong liquors for the space of twenty-one years to comeAnd this I swear upon the book before me and may I be strook dumb blind and helpless if I break this my oath When he had said it and kissed the big book the hay-trusser arose and seemed relieved at having made a start in a new direction Hardy The Mayor of Casterbridge Pages 15 16 Henchard appears very repentant of the shameful act that he has committed and he admits that his drinking has caused him to sell his wife Henchard realizes what he has done and makes no excuses for his wrongful deeds Henchard is beginning to show some of the character traits of a typical archetypal hero honesty determination and a new found strength As he resolves to start a new phase of his life Henchard sets out on an archetypal
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