Study Guide

The Mayor of Casterbridge Friendship

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It's hard to say what first attracts Henchard to Farfrae, but whatever it is, he trusts him immediately – not just with his business, but with his personal life and secrets. The two men are practically inseparable…until Henchard's jealousy drives them apart. Elizabeth-Jane and Lucetta are likewise inseparable, despite their contrasting personalities, but Elizabeth-Jane, unlike Henchard, is too good of a person to allow her jealousy of Lucetta and Farfrae to end their friendship.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why do Farfrae and Henchard originally become friends?
  2. Why do Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane become friends?
  3. Compare the two pairs of friends: Farfrae and Henchard and Lucetta and Elizabeth-Jane. Both pairs seem unlikely because of major differences in personality. What might The Mayor of Casterbridge be suggesting about friendship? How sincere are the friendships depicted here? Is one person more sincerely attached than the other? What might this suggest?

Chew on This

In the two main friendships of the novel, Henchard feels more attached to Farfrae, and Elizabeth-Jane feels more affection for Lucetta. It seems impossible in the world of the novel for the affection in friendships to be balanced and reciprocal.

Henchard's capacity for both love and hate is stronger than Farfrae's.

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