Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy


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The Life And Death Of The Mayor Of Casterbridge

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Thomas Hardy

Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Especially Victorian narrative paintings find prominent expression in his works. He projected the inner state through landscapes and canvasses.

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The minute details of beauty of the landscape clearly reflect the eyes of a painter. The impact of the painters like Crivelli and Bellini was very deep on him. He learnt from them the art of intensifying the expression of things so that the heart and inner meaning is made vivid and clear. The gothic flavor, expressiveness and depiction of inner through external is also credited to them. The art of architecture was in his blood. His father was a master mason and a builder. He himself was apprenticed to be an architect and was the disciple of Sir Arthur Bloomfield. He abandoned his profession only to be propagated by love of poetry.

His architectural skill was not only confined to buildings but it also manifests his vision of life quite loudly. Hardy was always attached to the past memories and historic associations. While taking a stand between reparation and restoration he preferred the former one as restoration fades the connection of the past and the beauty of association which grieves him the most.

His love for the gothic style and the nostalgia for the past get reflected in his love for the art of architecture. Hardy was an avowed devotee of the muse of sculpture. He visited Elgin marble and the sculpture there always fired his imagination. Infact Hardy was the votary of the entire sister arts and gave them expression in his verses. Hardy had a keen sense of perception. Perception is the universally acknowledged link between the human mind and the external world where mind plays an active role and the external world is manifested from the perceptions of human mind.

Hardy by using the powerful medium of poetry records impressions by storing memories as sense impressions.


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Hardy certainly believes in the active powers of mind. The external beauty of the scene depends on the mind of the perceivers. According to him beauty is not only confined to beautiful things butit is also apparent in the ugly and the common place. It is the human association which signifies the real beauty.

The world of will and the world of ideas. The world of will is the world in which we inhabit. The world of ideas is composed of concepts and percepts. An individual is the manifestation of the will whose will is manifested in this world. The world of ideas is primarily made of perceptions which shape the world of our representations. Hardy in his poetry dealt with the perceptions which left an indelible impression in his life throughout.

Noyes, Alfred. The North American Review : July ,. To study human life in all its manifestations is the chief occupation of Hardy as a poet. Hardy beautifully explains the incongruities, contrasts, conflicts and discrepancies of human life. Not only this, his palpable humanity asserts itself in the simple joys and common events that occur in this mortal world.

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In a nutshell, human being is a common denominator in his poems. All the three phases with distinct influences in every phase have been discussed in detail. The chapter begins with defining humanism and through poetic evidences arguments have been presented in favour of Hardy as a humanist. Further, the concept of evolutionary meliorism is introduced by defining and explaining the term. The influence of great philosophers like Darwin, Schopenhauer, and von Hartmann as reflected in his poetic contribution is also discussed in the chapter.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Hardy as reflected in his works is his humanitarian vision. Poems in support of above with explanation and arguments are discussed. Another aspect of humanitarian vision is amelioration of moral and social order. Relevant poems with argument have been presented. Accepting the human limitation is yet another characteristic of humanitarian view of Hardy that forms a part of the text in this chapter supported by relevant poems and arguments. Optimism is yet another characteristic of humanitarian vision.

Chapter 1 Introduction

Shades of optimism pervade numerous poems of Hardy. Two types of optimism i. Hardy has laid a lot of emphasis on basic human values which is characteristic of humanistic philosophy that has been discussed at length in the chapter. Hardy depicts glimpses of Existential philosophy in his war poems work, which actually are indicative of humanitarian and therefore humanistic philosophy. Many of his war poems reflect existential philosophywhere humanitarian values are prominent that finally confirms the proposition that Hardy was a true humanist.

The chapter thus concludes with war poems highlighting last of the humanitarian aspects of Hardy supporting humanistic philosophy and the argument that he was an evolutionary meliorist. A sight for the finer qualities of existence, an eye for the still sad music of humanity is not to be acquired by the outer senses alone. These aspects of life require a mental tactility that comes from a sympathetic appreciation of life in all its manifestations.

Any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values and dignity predominates is called humanism. In philosophical terms, it is a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in god. Humanism is a philosophy of compassion. It emphasizes on meeting human needs and answering human problems for both the individual and society. It is a philosophy for those who are in love with life.

Humanists pre-eminently believe that man is a part of nature and has emerged as a result of continuous progress. Literature has a very close connection with humanism. It always touches human lives. It is the reflection of human emotions and passions. It studies human mind and has a supreme concern for the essential emotions which reside in human heart. Modern humanist thinkers and writers had an enormous impact in the last century.

Thomas Hardy was primarily a humanist. His poetry deals with individual and their complex relationship with god, nature, society and his fellow beings. In his philosophic verses like Hap , humanity shines. Human existence in its totality has been interpreted in his poetic volumes. The quote of Miguel de Unameno, an existential thinker affirms it:.

Philosophy is a product of the humanity of each philosopher, and each philosopher is a man of flesh and bone like himself … He philosophizes not with the reason only, but with the will, with the feelings, with the flesh and with the bones, but with the whole soul and with the whole body. It is a process of adaptation for further improvement. Meliorism is a hope which relies upon human actions and deeds.

Thomas Hardy

It emphasizes that the world can lead towards betterment and human happiness through human efforts. Human consciousness plays a vital role in the human progress. A meliorist is neither an extreme optimist nor an extreme pessimist in attitude. He is claimed to be a poet who presents the dark view of life.

He never denied that the bleak view of life did persist in his poems. At the same time his labeling as a pessimist, irks and annoys him the most.


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Hardy defended himself in the apology to the volume Late Lyricsand Earlier. Hardy observed nearly a hundred years ago that,. The soul has her eternal rights; that she will not be darkened by statutes, nor lullabied by the music of bells. Its defining feature remains in providing the solution to the maladies of human life rather than shutting the eyes from the harsh realities.

Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy
Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy
Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy
Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy
Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy
Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy
Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy

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