The Mayor of Casterbridge

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Richard Newson Character Analysis

a gracious sailor who buys Susan Henchard and the first Elizabeth-Jane from Henchard. He cares for Susan and their daughter, the second Elizabeth-Jane, until he sees the mother’s growing distress when she realizes she is morally bound to return to her first husband. Therefore, Newson pretends he has died. Later he seeks out Elizabeth-Jane once he hears her mother has passed away. He passes through Casterbridge multiple times seeking his daughter. The two are reunited despite Henchard’s lie that Elizabeth-Jane has died. He dances joyfully at Elizabeth-Jane’s wedding to Farfrae, and lives with the newly wed couple, before eventually settling at Budmouth, in sight of the sea.

Richard Newson Quotes in The Mayor of Casterbridge

The The Mayor of Casterbridge quotes below are all either spoken by Richard Newson or refer to Richard Newson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Self-Destruction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge published in 2003.
Chapter 41 Quotes

He watched the distant highway expecting to see Newson return on foot, enlightened and indignant, to claim his child. But no figure appeared. Possibly he had spoken to nobody on the coach, but buried his grief in his own heart. His grief!--what was it, after all, to that which he, Henchard, would feel at the loss of her? Newson's affection cooled by years, could not equal his who had been constantly in her presence. And thus his jealous soul speciously argued to excuse the separation of father and child.

Related Characters: Michael Henchard, Elizabeth-Jane Newson, Richard Newson
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

Richard Newson arrives in Casterbridge and seeks his daughter Elizabeth-Jane. Newson was not dead, but lost at sea, and has spent a long time searching for his missing family, guided by love for Susan and Elizabeth-Jane. Henchard, overwhelmed to meet him, tells him in a spur of the moment decision that both women have died. Newson’s grief at this news shows the true love he feels for both women. Henchard again exhibits his characteristic rash decisions and his anxiety about these decisions after the fact. Henchard dreads Newson’s return because he has grown close to Elizabeth-Jane and expects her to be a part of his life. He is once again guided by jealousy, which also motivated him in his treatment of Farfrae.

This moment is established as a parallel to Henchard’s discovery of the truth of Elizabeth-Jane’s parentage. In that moment, Henchard had achieved what he wanted—Elizabeth-Jane’s love and loyalty—only to find it lose meaning for him. In this moment, Henchard has found meaning in Elizabeth-Jane’s love and loyalty, only to find out that she could be separated from him. He had her by his side for a long time when he didn’t care to, and now that he cares for her, he may lose her. Like so many other plot twists in Hardy's work, the irony is clear and tragic.

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Richard Newson Character Timeline in The Mayor of Casterbridge

The timeline below shows where the character Richard Newson appears in The Mayor of Casterbridge. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Self-Destruction Theme Icon
Character Theme Icon
...the doorway accepts Michael’s offer to sell Susan for five guineas. A sailor, named Richard Newson, has appeared there as the auction progressed. He walks to the table and produces the... (full context)
Self-Destruction Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
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Michael takes the money, and, as Susan leaves with Newson, she whirls back to her former husband and hurls her wedding ring at him, accusing... (full context)
Chapter 3
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
...mother as to why they are stopping at the fair. Susan says she first met Newson at this very fair, and Elizabeth sighs over the death of Richard Newson, recently drowned... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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...the events at the Weydon-Priors fair. Susan has also innocently believed her sale to Richard Newson to be binding. A friend in whom Susan confided the truth corrected her belief, and... (full context)
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The news of Newson’s loss at sea relieved Susan’s conscience and made her free to seek out her husband,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
Loyalty to Duty and Commitments Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...may speak with him on a personal matter. She informs him that his relative Susan Newson is in town and wishes to see him. Elizabeth-Jane introduces herself as Elizabeth-Jane Newson, which... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Susan explains her confusion and the fact that she believed her commitment to Newson was binding. Henchard says that he thinks Susan innocent in her past actions, but he... (full context)
Chapter 14
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The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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...with Susan that he would like to have Elizabeth-Jane called Miss Henchard rather than Miss Newson. Susan protests slightly at first, but then agrees with Henchard. However, Susan goes to Elizabeth-Jane... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...Henchard and Elizabeth-Jane are sitting before the fire in the evening. Henchard asks about Richard Newson’s kindness as a father and whether or not Elizabeth-Jane could have cared as much for... (full context)
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The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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Elizabeth-Jane remains alone that evening, weeping for her mother and for Richard Newson to whom she feels she is doing some wrong. Henchard, meanwhile, goes upstairs to find... (full context)
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Familial and Romantic Love Theme Icon
The Past and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Her first daughter with Henchard died three months after the pair was sold to Richard Newson, and the living Elizabeth-Jane is Susan’s daughter with Newson, whom she named after the dead... (full context)
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...Eventually, he steals into Elizabeth-Jane’s room as she sleep and sees the marks of Richard Newson in her face and lighter coloring than Henchard’s own. (full context)
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...that morning, telling him that she has thought over the matter, and realized that despite Newson’s kindness to her, this is not the same as being one’s true father. She embraces... (full context)
Chapter 41
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...stranger who stopped at Peter’s Finger in Mixen Lane. The stranger identifies himself as Richard Newson, and a chill goes through Henchard upon hearing this name. Newson speaks of Susan’s innocence... (full context)
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Newson says that eventually Susan realized she was not bound to stay with him and was... (full context)
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...says she is buried next to her mother and died more than a year previously. Newson exclaims that his journey to Casterbridge has therefore been in vain, and departs. Realizing that... (full context)
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Henchard realizes that perhaps Newson’s grief at believing Elizabeth-Jane dead has also prevented him inquiring further. But he feels that... (full context)
Chapter 42
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Henchard lives in constant anxiety that Newson will return to Casterbridge, but as time wears on and he does not, Henchard grows... (full context)
Chapter 43
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...the pair’s arrival there, he sees another man arrive on that road. It is Richard Newson. (full context)
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...plans to leave Casterbridge, foreseeing how his life must change with the reappearance of Richard Newson. Elizabeth-Jane, surprised and confused by this announcement, begins to cry. (full context)
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...to meet at home, and Elizabeth-Jane is surprised to see this man, who is Richard Newson. The reunion between long-separated daughter and father is emotional. Newson is so proud of the... (full context)
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Newson expresses his happiness to be involved in their lives now that Henchard is gone. He... (full context)
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Newson good-naturedly encourages Elizabeth-Jane to put the past behind her. He offers to help pay for... (full context)
Chapter 44
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...man who dances particularly grandly. This happy man, Elizabeth-Jane’s dance partner for that number, is Newson. (full context)
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...but she no longer can knowing that he deceived her about her parentage and deceived Newson, her true father, into believing that she was dead. Henchard cannot begin to explain his... (full context)
Chapter 45
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...Henchard causes Elizabeth-Jane to reflect and to wish to make her peace with her stepfather. Newson, although remaining in Casterbridge for a while after the wedding, eventually settled in Budmouth, as... (full context)