The Mayor of Casterbridge
Marriage Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
In 1705, a woman who had murdered her husband was half-strangled and then burnt there in the presence of ten thousand spectators. Tradition reports that at a certain stage of the burning her heart burst and leapt out of her body to the terror of them all. (11.5)
This is an odd and gory detail for the author to include in the description of the history of the Casterbridge Ring (the old Roman amphitheater). It's about a woman's sins being publicly punished, and the almost supernatural way her remorse and sorrow are shown to the world (her "heart burst").
He pressed on the preparations for his union, or rather re-union, with this pale creature in a dogged unflinching spirit which did credit to his conscientiousness. (13.8)
Henchard clearly thinks it is his duty to remarry Susan, even though he doesn't really care for her anymore. His "conscientiousness" and sense of duty are strong enough to force him to do what he can to make amends for the past.
Poor thing – better you had not known me! Upon my heart and soul, if ever I should be left in a position to carry out that marriage with thee, I ought to do it – I ought to do it, indeed! (18.9)
Again, Henchard feels that marriage is a matter of duty – something he ought to do to make amends for the past.