Discuss this observation on the novel - Sample Essay
Sergeant Troy is a very interesting character who is portrayed, the majority of the time, as selfish, conceited and shallow. We first meet Troy when Fanny Robin reminds him of his promise to marry her, which he had apparently forgotten. Troy sends her away, telling her to meet him at All Souls Church. When Fanny misses the wedding, arriving at All Saints Church instead, Troy refuses to marry her, saying: “you fool for so fooling me! ” This shows that he never had any intention to marry Fanny.
Fanny ironically describes Troy as ‘a man of great respectability and high honour’ this is ironic because it is Gabriel who is ‘of high honour’, but doesn’t show it, whereas Tory has no honour, but has a fake charm and respectability even though he is a liar. Troy preys on Fanny, getting her pregnant and, eventually, causing her and the child’s deaths. Troy’s relationship with Bathsheba is even more dastardly than with Fanny. His first action in their relationship is trapping her in his spurs at night. Troy lies and says it was an accident, “We have got hitched together somehow, I think.
” But as it turns out, he was planning the meeting, perhaps stalking Bathsheba through the forest. Bathsheba’s first impression of Troy is that he is ‘brilliant in brass and scarlet’. Troy is a soldier, strong and handsome on the outside but arrogant and deceitful on the inside. This scene in the forest is a good show of Troy’s character; he inflicts himself on Bathsheba against her will, he is cruel for hooking her literally, emotionally and metaphorically; he is disrespectful, calling her ‘mate’ and then remarking on her beauty; he is unfaithful, going after a woman so soon after Fanny failed to marry him.
The second scene in which Troy shows himself to be less of a man than Gabriel is the sword show for Bathsheba. He was ‘all together too much for’ Bathsheba, Troy is so overbearing and impressive without at first seeming controlling that Bathsheba is powerless to resist her attraction to him. Hardy shows us that Troy is very impressive and ostentatious; he shows off a lot in this scene with his sword work, ‘He flourished the sword’. Troy lies twice in this scene, first when he tells Bathsheba that the sword is blunt;
‘“But you said at the beginning it was blunt and couldn’t cut me! ” “That was to get you to stand still, and thus ensure your safety. ”’ But he presents the lie in such a way that makes him sound noble and chivalrous. The second lie is more subtle, when Troy takes a lock of her hair. Bathsheba finds this very romantic and loving, but it is not, because Troy still keeps a lock of Fanny’s hair in his watch. From this and from Troy’s other actions throughout the novel, we can conclude that Troy is unfaithful, arrogant, calculating, and all together fake.
Oak and Troy are very different characters on the surface and also in their personalities. Oak is always portrayed as kind and simple, someone who will always love Bathsheba in an unassuming, quiet way. This is in direct contrast with flashy, showy Troy who will stop at nothing to get what he wants from Bathsheba. Oak shows his gentleness and kindness in the storm; Troy sends Bathsheba away, getting drunk and spreading alcohol to the workers. An important difference between the two men who woo Bathsheba is their almost polar appearances compared to their personalities.
Troy appears exciting fun and dangerous; Oak seems dull and boring. But, ironically, it is Troy’s dangerous streak that makes women love him and not Oak’s returned love. When Troy appears exciting and worthwhile, he is really greedy and selfish. Oak however, seems dull, but is really kind and reliable. Another difference between the two is that Oak is always the same; he doesn’t change through the novel, whereas Troy does. Troy realises that he has failed and then gives up- faking his death to escape from Bathsheba and the embarrassment he caused himself.
This is directly contrasting to Oak, who never wavered from loving Bathsheba and loves her through the novel, this also shows the contrast because Oak doesn’t give up, even though Bathsheba refuses to marry him. This shows strength and perseverance that Troy doesn’t have. The two men are very different characters in the way they act and speak, and in how Hardy describes them: “In juxtaposition with Troy, Oak had a melancholy tendency to look like a candle beside gas. ” Gabriel gives Bathsheba good advice that she doesn’t want to hear and Troy just takes advantage of her.
Another important difference between the two characters, how they both treat Bathsheba and Fanny. Oak helps Fanny; Troy abandons her. Oak loves Bathsheba and wants to marry her; Troy is attracted to her and her money. The fates that Hardy leaves the men with at the end of the novel also show their contrasting personalities. Troy is shot in public, causing Boldwood’s imprisonment- his death is open and flamboyant, reflecting on his life and his personality. In contrast, Oak’s ending is a happy, quiet marriage in the rain to the woman he loves; “At home by the fire, whenever I look up, there you will be.
And whenever you look up, there I shall be. ” In conclusion, the greatest strength of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ to me is the contrasting portrayals of Oak and Troy. There are, however, many other strengths in the novel, including the themes and the descriptions of scenery. The most important character contrast is between Troy; a selfish philanderer who only thinks of himself and Oak, who is the opposite because he is gentle, kind and honourable. Hardy’s descriptions of Troy and Oak give us a lot of insight into both characters.
Hardy’s power with words is never more evident when describing Troy in a nutshell: ‘idiosyncrasy and vicissitude had combined to stamp Sergeant Troy as an exceptional being. ’ Oak and Troy are so different it is easy to understand why the portrayal of Oak and Troy is the novels greatest strength. Hardy sums up the difference between Oak and Troy excellently when he avers: “Troy’s deformities lay deep down from a woman’s vision, whilst his embellishments were upon the very surface, thus contrasting with homely Oak, whose defects were patent to the blindest, and whose virtues were as metal in a mine. “