The Mayor of Casterbridge

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Mayor of Casterbridge Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The man in the drawing room is years younger than Henchard and well dressed. The stranger is immediately apologetic, saying that he is calling upon Miss Henchard, and did not mean to so surprise her. Lucetta encourages the man, who she learns is Mr. Farfrae, to stay and sit now that he has come to call. There is something in his person that Lucetta finds immediately attractive and compelling.
Lucetta is immediately drawn to Farfrae and she is far better than Elizabeth-Jane at speaking to a man and encouraging him. In the moment, she encourages this newcomer to stay and to speak with her, so that the pair gets to know each other.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
Farfrae’s appearance at High-Place Hall is the result of Henchard’s note to him that he could court Elizabeth-Jane. His recent business success has made him aware that he can afford to marry. Lucetta and Farfrae comment upon the busy market scene. Lucetta says that she will look for Farfrae in the crowd now that she knows him. She confesses her loneliness, and as the pair converses she also expresses how interesting she finds Farfrae. He colors at her praise, and she praises Scottish men more generally, asking if he wishes he could be in his homeland again.
While Farfrae arrived at High-Place Hall to see Elizabeth-Jane, he does not depart upon learning that she is not there, and he is moved by Lucetta and her praise of him. Lucetta confesses to being lonely, another characteristic that separates her from Elizabeth-Jane, who could only admit to loneliness in the graveyard when she believed no one could hear her.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
Farfrae and Lucetta observe a disagreement occurring outside of the window. A farmer is hiring an elderly worker, but only if his healthy son agrees to come too. The son is apologizing to his sweetheart who does not want him to leave for such a distant farm. Lucetta turns to Farfrae, both their eyes moist at the scene occurring below, and she says lovers ought not to be parted like that. Farfrae says perhaps he could help by hiring both father and son and keeping the pair employed and in town. He heads outside to offer his proposition to the group who are all cheered by it.
The scene between father, son, and the son’s sweetheart provides an opportunity for Lucetta to witness Farfrae’s care and attentiveness to others, and for the pair to unite in the protection of two lovers. The concept of love is introduced to the reader during this scene of close conversation between Farfrae and Lucetta.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Lucetta tells him his offer is kind-hearted when he returns to her drawing room. Outside the window, they overhear another conversation as a young farmer says he was supposed to meet Farfrae at the fair, but has not seen him. Farfrae says he must go, but still he remains with Lucetta. Farfrae exclaims that he wishes that there were no business in the world, as it calls him away from Lucetta. She says he has changed his priorities very quickly, but he responds that this change has only been since he arrived at High-Place Hall and saw her.
Farfrae is called back to his business only when they overhear men at the market who are looking for him. He makes his interest in Lucetta clear by expressing his wish to stay with her, to not be called back to his business. The change in his affections is very fast, but he seems allured by Lucetta from the moment he sees her, to the exclusion of any other thoughts.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
Get the entire The Mayor of Casterbridge LitChart as a printable PDF.
The mayor of casterbridge.pdf.medium
As Farfrae leaves, Lucetta says eagerly that he should not heed any gossip he may hear about her in town. As a young woman, Lucetta would not have been interested in a tradesman, but she watches Farfrae from the window and pleads with her rational self to welcome him again on another visit to her home.
Lucetta is interested in Farfrae as well. Her rational side argues that his trade is too lowly for her to consider him as a suitor. It is clear, however, that her heart and her emotions do not agree with this rational side of herself.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
Minutes after Farfrae’s departure, Henchard calls with the message that he is only able to make a brief visit. Lucetta tells her maid to send him away that day with the excuse that she has a headache. Lucetta is no longer interested in Henchard’s attentions, having finally reawaked his affection for her. She no longer feels the necessity of getting rid of Elizabeth-Jane, but instead wanted to keep the younger woman near, as a means of dissuading her father’s visits. She greets Elizabeth-Jane enthusiastically upon her return and implores that she live with Lucetta for a long time.
Lucetta’s priorities have changed as dramatically as Farfrae’s. Lucetta did not love Henchard any longer, and she finds it easy to lose interest in his attentions. She is also able to let go of her obsession with her reputation. Her dramatic change in treatment of Elizabeth-Jane is again motivated by her own interests, as she now wishes to use the young woman as a shield against her father’s attentions.
Themes
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon