Unconventional Hardy in the Light of His Two Female Characters ‘Bathsheba Everdene and Eustacia Vye’

Moshiur Rahaman, Nusrat Nilufer


The study tries to show how the characters of Thomas Hardy’s novels are unconventional in terms of the contemporary society and the social life. Comparing to men, the women in the Victorian age were considered weaker both physically and intellectually. In this age women were assumed to have entirely unusual in natures than women, greatly owing to biological determinism of Darwin’s theory. [1].These differences also determined their separate and different functions in society. The allocated spheres made women subordinate to male authority in social life. Thomas Hardy resists these socially accepted depictions of the female with the radically independent and strong heroines in his novels. He has redefined the role of women in his novels focusing on their instinctive traits as natural as they fight against the conventional society to assert their rights not as a separate entity but as human beings. Women in Hardy’s novel, with their amalgamation of qualities, going beyond the firmness of Madonna and whore, must have confused many readers captured in mixed feelings of admiration and alarm in his time. And here lies Hardy’s unconventionality as he did not delineate the perfect woman in fiction as the Victorian society expected them to be. And this unconventionality has also termed him an early feminist by some modern critics. To show his unconventionality regarding female characters in his novels, the present writers have chosen two major female characters, ‘Bathsheba Everdene and Eustacia Vye’ from two novels of Thomas Hardy- ‘Far from the Madding Crowd( 1874) and The Return of the Native (1878)’, and  have discussed their conspicuous traits that mark their differences from Victorian stereotypical notion of women.

Keywords: Conventional, Unconventional, Thomas Hardy, Bathsheba Everdene, Eustacia Vye

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