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Character and Role of Eustacia Vye

Introduction:- Thomas Hardy provides a memorable portrait of Eustacia Vye, the leading figure, in the chapter V of The Return of the !ative" He lends a certain splendour and glory to her character but her actions, behaviour and utterances subse#uently do not conform to the glorious description of her character by Hardy" $hysically, Eustacia is described as % full-limbed and some&hat heavy' &ithout ruddiness, as &ithout pallor' and soft to the touch as a cloud"% (he has $agan eyes, full of nocturnal mysteries" Her motions suggest the ebb and flo& of the sea' her voice reminds one of a musical instrument" Her native place &as the city of )udmouth, a seaside resort" (he &as the daughter of a bandmaster &ho too* great pains in educating her" (he &as left to the care of her grandfather after the death of her mother and father" His grandfather chooses to settle do&n on Egdon Heath after leaving his +ob as a sea-captain" Eustacia hated this change from )udmouth to Egdon" Hardy tells that Eustacia &as the ra& material of a divinity" (he had the passions and instincts &hich ma*e a model goddess, but not a model &oman" Eustacia has a dignity &hich is rather unusual in &omen of her class" This % ,ueen of !ight% as Hardy calls her, seldom schemed" It &as Eustacia-s great desire to be loved to madness" (he &anted to drive a&ay the sense of her eating loneliness through the tonic of love" (he believed in passionate love, a bla.e of love indeed" /i*e most beautiful &omen, she suffers from the faults of pride, vanity and disregard of others opinions about her" (he is fully conscious of her physical charms and demands recognition and ac*no&ledgement of her beauty" (he is not only vain and proud, but she is also self-&illed and rec*less" Ho&ever, her self-confidence, boldness and daring nature are #uite impressive" (he is a &oman of fluctuating desires" 0irst she falls for 1ildive and then falls in love &ith Clym" (he is not able to reconcile herself to her life on Egdon Heath" (he feels very deep hatred for the heath" (he is no nature lover" (he longs to live in a fashionable city, and the loneliness of her life on heath ma*es her miserable" (he e2claims to 1ildeve, % I do" It is my cross, my shame, and &ill be my death"% (he is rather a mysterious figure for the natives of Egdon Heath" (usan !unsuch regards her as a &itch, and genuinely thin*s that she is responsible for the sic*ness of her child" (he pric*s Eustacia &ith a needle at church out of her hatred" (he also melts a &a2en image of Eustacia on the fire in order to destroy her" 3rs" 4eabright has an e2tremely unfavourable opinion of Eustacia, and al&ays feels hostile to her" (he feels upset &hen she comes to *no& that her son is ta*ing interest in her" 5fter marriage, the mother is estranged from her son" /eading an isolated e2istence on Egdon Heath, Eustacia begins to feel interested in 1ildeve not because she really falls in love &ith him but +ust to fill up the spite hours of her e2istence" (he loves him because she thin*s that there is no other man on Heath &orth her attention" 5s soon as an other man in shape of Clym appears on the scene, her attitude to&ards 1ildeve undergoes a complete change" (uddenly she discovers her social superiority over 1ildeve and feels that she had lo&ered herself in loving that man" Through this change, she e2poses her essential shallo&ness, inconsistency and fic*leness" (he terminates her relationships &ith him" 5fter her failure to reconcile to the married life &ith Clym, she again feels for 1ildeve again as he has got some &ealth no&" Her interest in Clym is centered round the fact that he has tasted the fashionable life of $aris and there is possibility of her accompanying him to $aris after marriage" Ho&ever, later on she falls in love &ith Clym" Her love for Clym is more genuine than her love for 1ildeve" (he fails to become a good homespun &ife because of her dreams of a fashionable life in a big city" Their relationships are strained and she ma*es plans of escape from the prison of Egdon Heath" (he ta*es help from 1ildeve to run a&ay and dies in the lap of Heath in the end" Conclusion:- The heroine of the novel, Eustacia Vye, more than any other of Hardy-s characters, seems intended to be grandly heroic, to e2ist on a higher level of significance than the other characters in the novel" (he is alone, rebellious, even po&erful6and so little e2plicable that she can be ta*en for a &itch by the superstitious" (he is a young &oman &ith romantic dreams of heroic love of social brilliance, &ho marries under the illusion that her husband, Clym 4eobright, &ill fulfill her dreams and help to escape from her remote and isolated life on Egdon Heath" 7isillusionment, conflict &ith her mother-in-la&, and a violent #uarrel &ith her husband, lead her to attempt a desperate flight &ith a former lover, 7amon 1ildeve" 8n her &ay to meet him, she is dro&ned, and 1ildeve, in an attempt to rescue her, gets dro&ned also" Hardy never tells &hether Eustacia-s dro&ning is an accident or suicide, but suicide is the inevitable e2planation, since she considers herself trapped bet&een the intolerable alternatives of staying on Egdon Heath or living &ith a lover she thin*s considerably inferior to herself" 9oseph 1arren )each is of the vie&,% It is her stifled longing for spiritual e2pansion &hich leads her to play &ith the love of 1ildeve, &hich causes her later to thro& him over for the greater promise of Clym, &hich leads her bac* again to 1ildeve, and at last--- &ith the loss of all hope--- to suicide"% 5"$" Elliot says,% 1hen Hardy first describes Eustacia Vye, he attaches a peculiar significance to the consideration of &oman as an agent of 0ate" He seems to identify her nature clearly &ith that of the Immanent 1ill" Eustacia Vye &as the ra& material of a 7ivinity"% $repared by $rof" (aleem Ra.a :ovt" College :o+ra"