The contrast of qualities in literary characters greatly increases their complexity.Thomas Hardy's novel, Mayor Of Casterbridge, uses the good and evil in Michael Henchard's life to depict him as a very complex character.Revolving around an oath he makes, he is able to develop into a mosaic and complicated individual.
Early on, Michael Henchard is expressed as an evil character.He is known as an alcoholic because of his frequent visits to the local furmity.After a long night of drinking he awakes, reminiscing on the night before."We walked here, and I had the furmity and rum in it-and sold her." (Pg 21)In relation with his substance abuse, he is intoxicated one evening and sells his wife and daughter, Susan and Elizabeth-Jane.During the auction, he makes a statement that foreshadows his next action."For my part I don't see why men who have got wives and don't want'em, shouldn't get rid of'em as these gipsy fellows do their old horses." (Pg 11)With that declaration, he proceeds to barter with the men in the pub until she is bought for five guineas.When Henchard realizes the severity of what he has done, he punishes himself, promising not to drink any alcohol for twenty-one years.He finally sees the evil that alcohol brings into his life, and attempts to overcome his addiction.
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With Henchard's life altering oath, he begins to expand into a generally good man.He becomes the mayor of Casterbridge and invites his wife and daughter back into his life.After Susan dies, Michael begins to take a notable interest in Elizabeth-Jane.She realizes his attempt at good parenting, and in one of their discussions proceeds to inform him of the new title she is giving him."Father it is.For of course you would not have done half the things you have done for me, and let me have my own way so entirely, and bought me presents, if I had only been your s…