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The major theme of the novel is that true love persists and wins. Three men, Gabriel Oak, Sergeant Troy and Farmer Boldwood, love Bathsheba Everdene. Gabriel Oak loves her dearly, but his initial love petition to Bathsheba is rejected. Troy is a philanderer who charms Bathsheba, hides his love affair with Fanny, and marries Bathsheba. The marriage is an unhappy one and is terminated by Boldwood's shooting of Troy. Boldwood's love for Bathsheba has been an obsession bordering on insanity. Gabriel Oak's patience and true love enable him to win Bathsheba, who realizes the true worth of Gabriel at the end of the novel.
One minor theme of the novel is developed through the rustic characters that show that humor is good for the soul. These rustics provide comic relief to the tragic tension of the novel and act as the chorus, commenting on the major events. They provide comedy of character, comedy of situation, and verbal humor arising out of their handling of the language.
The essential mood of the novel is serious and tragic. This mood, however, is often relieved by the comic mood, provided by the rustic characters in the novel.