The Mayor of Casterbridge

fate and the criss-cross of chance and co-incidence lead the coarse of the novel

according to the novel MAYOR OF THE CASTERBRIBDGE

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When The Mayor of Casterbridge was first published in serial form, Hardy wrote, "It is not improbabilities of incident but improbabilities of character that matter." This is the basic theme of the novel, which has the additional title, "The Story of a Man of Character." Fate may create the situations for the characters, but in the end their personalities determine how they will react. Michael gains a true confidant in Farfrae, but his quick temper and mercurial ways only serve to push the young man away. Michael's pride keeps him from confessing whatever secret he has at the time. Lucetta's reckless nature causes her to do dangerous things for love. The gossiping nature of the townspeople is responsible for the skimmity ride that kills Lucetta, and the gossip that ruins Michael's career. Even Elizabeth-Jane's prudishness pushes Michael away for the first and last time. Character is just as responsible for the foibles of mankind as Fate is.