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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.
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.