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The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge

by Thomas Hardy

Marriage Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

That the man and woman were husband and wife, and the parents of the girl in arms, there could be little doubt. No other than such relationship would have accounted for the atmosphere of domesticity which the trio carried along with them like a nimbus as they moved down the road. (1.4)

This is the opening image of the novel: a man and woman walking down a road together, a child in the woman's arms. No one speaks. The man seems contemptuously indifferent to the wife and child. And yet, the narrator assures us that it's obvious that the two are married, because a marriage brings with it a kind of "nimbus" of "domesticity" that any outside person can detect. Why should marriage bring with it a "nimbus" (a cloud)? Sounds pretty ominous.

Quote #2

The ruin of good men by bad wives, and, more particularly, the frustration of many a promising youth's high aims and hopes, and the extinction of his energies, by an early imprudent marriage, was the theme. (1.25)

The man (who still hasn't been named yet) keeps harping, in public and in front of his wife, about what a pain marriage is. He makes generalizations about how wives ruin their husbands. We don't directly hear what the man is saying; the narrator describes it in general terms. This could have the effect of making the man's complaints seem more reasonable, or at least fairly commonplace.

Quote #3

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. (1.30)

The man takes things a little far when he makes a comparison between wives and "old horses."

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