The narrative primarily focuses on Eustacia Vye's relationships with Damon Wildeve (her Clym Yeobright kindled passion in Eustacia largely because of his glittering Thomasin Yeobright passively follows the advice of her aunt in rejecting. However, Clym Yeobright did not pay heed to his mother's advice Moreover, he envisioned his relationship with his wife Eustacia from an. Clym instinctively thinks of a relationship with Eustacia as a working relationship, but from such an idea she instantly recoils, fearing precisely that possibility.
He loved her best, she thought; and yet—dared she to murmur such treacherous criticism ever so softly? The sentiment which lurks more or less in all animate nature—that of not desiring the undesired of others—was lively as a passion in the supersubtle, epicurean heart of Eustacia.
It is a dynamic which pervades Egdon Heath and is intrinsic to the mechanisms of the plot. According to Girard's model of violence, in such a climate of mimetic conflict and complicated societal relations, a scapegoat must emerge and a sacrificial crisis must occur. In the very beginning of the novel, however, it is not immediately clear who this scapegoat must be.
Johnny Nunsuch, at first, is not an altogether implausible choice. Of the three who shed blood during the course of the plot, Johnny is the first, and significantly, he does so upon his involvement with the mysterious Diggory Venn. From that moment, Johnny is integral to the plot; he is directly involved in the death of Mrs. Yeobright and only somewhat less directly involved in Susan Nunsuch's indictment and attacks on Eustacia Vye.
In the wild transference of guilt that takes place in the days and moments leading up to Eustacia's death, he is a necessary link. He is, however, not the only contender for the part of the scapegoat; Eustacia Vye, in fact, has perhaps the greater claim. Hardy, in fact, seems to go out of his way to set her up in this role by painting her as a witch; in the context of other primitive elements in the plot, it is hard not to surmise that Hardy did not envision her in the role of the sacrificial victim.
At the time the novel is set, after all, the witch trials and hangings of 16th and 17th century England were not so far in the past. An accusation of witchcraft was a common method of popular scapegoating in earlier British communities, and the psychology is obviously present in Hardy's Egdon Heath. For example, the story of Jane Wenham, who was accused of witchcraft inbears some recognizable similarities to the situation of Eustacia Guskin 94 ; both Jane and Eustacia were subject to communal gossip and both were stabbed with a needle or other sharp object in order to draw blood and prove their witchery.
Intentional or not, Hardy establishes clearly in the first third of the book that Eustacia is, if not an outcast, certainly a person viewed with suspicion by the community.
The Return of the Native
Of the people in the community, Mrs. Yeobright is among the most suspicious. Yeobright notes, early in the book. Eustacia is, therefore, set up from the beginning in the traditional role of the scapegoat, one informed by collective British consciousness and memory. If Eustacia is in the role of scapegoat, however, it is Susan Nunsuch who sits in the chair of the accuser, an integral part of Girard's cycle of violence Williams xii.
Although Susan professes Christianity, her actions toward Eustacia indicate her true allegiance to the method of pre-Christian catharsis present in Girard's sacrificial model; she is the embodiment of the primitive forces that permeate the Heath.
If many in the village suspect Eustacia of witchcraft, it is Susan who is compelled to act upon these suspicions, driving a stocking-needle in Eustacia's arm in the middle of a church service—another of Hardy's subtle digs at the potency, or lack thereof, of Christian culture.
Susan, more so than any other character in the novel, has an instinctive recognition of the primal forces working on Egdon Heath. Susan's primitive knowledge allows her to sense—albeit subconsciously—the mimetic crisis that is descending upon the community. As she recognizes the danger, she has no thought of natural causes; instead, in accordance with Girard's model, she immediately suspects that Johnny is serving as the sacrifice for communal guilt.
Susan, however, clearly believes that the primitive and sacrificial forces on the Heath are as manipulable as they are potent, and she therefore turns to the remedies provided by ancient human knowledge and superstition. For the community to return to a state of equilibrium, someone must die. To do this, Susan returns to the primitive methods of marking a witch: The symbolism of blood here is important: Also important is the fact that Susan's symbolic role as accuser equates her with the role of Satan—the ultimate accuser—in Girard's model.
In essence, then, the episode in the church is Susan's endeavor to sacrifice Eustacia for the good of the community and her son. Although Susan likely believes that such a symbolic sacrifice is sufficient to achieve the desired ends—after all, the conscious basis for her schemes is only village superstition—Hardy has painted Egdon Heath as a world in which the superficial practice of an ancient ritual will not be adequate to appease the malevolent forces at work.
Susan's son remains ill, and the mimetic rivalries within the community continue to intensify. Indeed, the primitive forces of the heath pushing towards a sacrifice, rather than diminishing, also seem to increase as the novel progresses towards a climax.
It is, outwardly, these forces that unexpectedly claim the life of Mrs. Yeobright as she returns from her foiled attempt to visit her son.
Since she has not been singled out as a scapegoat, this death seems curious in light of Girard's theory. Her death is neither required for communal harmony nor executed by communal forces; it is, in terms of mimetic theory, inherently gratuitous.
Clym & Eustacia: The Relationship | Mr Henneman's language and literature pages
However, as established, Hardy clearly connects the two deaths, necessitating a closer look. Yeobright's death occurs immediately after a major event in the book's most important set of mimetic rivalries: Eustacia's refusal to allow Mrs. Yeobright into her home. All of the central players in the mimetic rivalry are involved in this event, and it is at this point that relationships are at their most convoluted and dissatisfaction is rampant.
Hardy links the escalating mimetic tension with the shifting moods in the landscape: The presence of Johnny Nunsuch, the manifestation of the plague and the personified impetus for Susan's initial attack on Eustacia, also signals that a pivotal point in the single victim model is likely to transpire.
However, the mark of the sacrifice itself—and its source—provides what is perhaps the most important clue to the greater context and symbolism of Mrs.
The mark, like Eustacia's, is that which is indicative of blood sacrifice, of the imputation and bearing of guilt on behalf of a community. What is perhaps more intriguing is the source of that mark: Later, Christian Cantle muses on the significance of the snake: This, combined with the imagery of an angry heath—Mrs.
First, of course, it draws direct relationships between the forces on the heath, the death of Mrs. Yeobright and, by extension, Eustaciathe mimetic crisis in which the characters find themselves, and Satan himself—the ultimate evil of Christian tradition and the accusational force within Girard's model.
No longer do the mimetic crisis and its consequences seem instigated and perpetuated by purely human forces; rather, the supernatural—which has been hinted at throughout the novel—seems to be a primary influence in the outcome of human events on Egdon Heath.
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Placed into this frame of reference, Girard's theory seems to be thrown out of balance; on Egdon Heath, it seems, Satan is so powerful that communal human sin is no longer necessary to incite a mimetic crisis. As shown by the fate of Mrs. Yeobright, the malevolent force which abides on the Heath has the power to choose and sacrifice its own scapegoat in a rapid and grotesque parallel of the single victim mechanism.
Yeobright's death is both a manifestation of the sacrificial model and a disturbing extension of it—an extension in which the mythological Satan is powerful enough to negate the need for human participation in the sacrifice.
Captain Vye is the chance acquaintance of Venn's. Wildeve was once Eustacia's lover, but she has not seen him since his interest in Thomasin. Eventually, Wildeve does finally arrive. Venn accidentally learns of the meeting between Eustacia and Wildeve. A longtime admirer and once rejected suitor of Thomasin, Venn thinks he can score points with her.
He now resolves to help her and purposely overhears the conversation between Eustacia and Wildeve the next time they meet on Rainbarrow. Venn then calls on Eustacia to get her to help Thomasin, finally telling her he knows about her meetings with Wildeve.
Venn also informs Mrs. Yeobright he would like to marry her niece.
Though he is rejected, the aunt uses him as a means to put pressure on Wildeve. Wildeve goes immediately to Eustacia to convince her to leave with him, but she will not answer right away. The news of the arrival for the Christmas holidays of Mrs.
Yeobright's son, Clym, is widely talked about on the heath, including Captain Vye's house, where Eustacia also hears about his impending visit. Yeobright and Thomasin make preparations for Clym's arrival.
After getting a glimpse of him, Eustacia is fascinated by him. She arranges to substitute for one of the boys in the traditional Christmas mumming a play or pageant in which the actors use gestures, masks, props, and elaborate makeup, but do not have spoken linesthe first performance of which is at a party Mrs. During the performance at the party, Eustacia succeeds in meeting Clym while she is in costume.
MA English Super Notes: CLYM- EUSTACIA RELATIONSHIP
Now that her interest in Wildeve has paled, Eustacia makes clear to Venn that she would like to see Wildeve married to Thomasin. They do marry, with Eustacia serving as witness. Yeobright, who has once opposed the marriage, does not attend; and Clym, who has been away from home, finds out about the marriage after it has taken place. Giving up his business career in Paris, Clym has returned to Egdon Heath to set up as a schoolteacher to those who can't afford existing schools.
Yeobright disapproves, thinking Clym's career goals do not show enough ambition. Clym meets Eustacia, in her own person this time, and is strongly attracted to her, an attraction that Mrs.
Clym sees Eustacia regularly, usually on the heath, for several months and then asks her to marry him. She says yes, though she hopes he will finally give up his plans and take her to Paris. Yeobright and Clym quarrel over his love of Eustacia and he feels forced to leave his mother's house, he decides he and Eustacia should marry right away and live for a time on the heath.
Clym finds a cottage and moves from home, leaving his mother disconsolate and bitter. The crippling boredom and feeling of being trapped within the heath leads Eustacia to crave an unrealistic love. All Eustacia ever really craves is a chance to escape the Heath and lead the life she so arrogantly presumes to be her right. She imagines Clym as a born leader of man who would go with her into the brilliant world — Paris which would give her the fullness of life and the freedom she craves for.
Is there any place like it on earth? Indeed, it should be noted that Clym is the returning native of the heath, while Eustacia is a complete alien on the heath, making her entrapment upon it even more poignant. Her belief that she will be able to convince Clym to return to Paris after they are married is another part of her downfall; she has too much faith in her own power There is a fatal incompatibility between the two lovers.
All her fears come true. The death of Mrs.