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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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HARDY'S USE OF ALLUSIONS

One distinct feature of Hardy's style is his use of allusions-- classical, literary, and biblical. Throughout this novel, there are many Biblical allusions. The name of Bathsheba is an obvious example. David, the well-known shepherd from the Old Testament, falls in love with a woman named Bathsheba, who is already married to one of David's high-ranking soldiers. David sends her husband into a battle that he knows will kill him; after the battle, David marries Bathsheba. In another Biblical allusion, Boldwood's first glimpse of the breathtaking beauty of Bathsheba is compared to Adam's first view of Eve. Classical allusions also abound in the book. Bathsheba is compared to Venus and there are mentions of Jove and Cyclops. Finally, there are literary allusions. For example, Gabriel's first view of Bathsheba is compared to Satan's first view of Paradise in Milton's epic Paradise Lost.

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HARDY'S USE OF FATE

Hardy's view of life is essentially tragic, caused by the hand of Fate (or chance) in human affairs. Sometimes, fate operates through natural occurrences. In Far from the Madding Crowd, Gabriel must work feverishly to protect Bathsheba's harvest from a terrible storm. Although Gabriel succeeds in overcoming the fate of the storm, Boldwood is not so lucky and loses all his crops. Gabriel Oak also loses his fortunes through an occurrence of natural fate; his sheep fall off a cliff to their deaths, and Gabriel must sell out to repay his debts.


Fate is responsible for Bathsheba's changes in fortune as well. Her uncle happens to die and leave her the farm. Gabriel happens to go to sleep in a wagon that carries him near Bathsheba's farm; he then happens to see the fire and is concerned enough to go and help put it out, thus earning a position for himself near the woman he loves. Bathsheba happens to see Boldwood and be offended by his lack of attention just at the time of Valentine's. She and Troy happen to pass Fanny on the road when Fanny is about to die. Bathsheba's sheep happen to take ill when she has just foolishly sent Gabriel away, forcing her to call him back. Hardy combines these and many other fateful incidents with a carefully crafted sense of realism to make them seem natural rather than contrived. Therefore he makes the plot, driven by fate, seem believable to the reader.

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MonkeyNotes-Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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