One of the best known and most critically acclaimed of Hardyís "Novels of Character and Environment" and indeed of all his novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge is the story of Michel Henchard. Henchard is a country labourer who in the first chapters of the book gets drunk while he and his wife are travelling and stopping at a fair and promptly sells both her and his child to a sailor calle Newson. Although this was not unheard of in the early nineteenth century among the poor it had certainly died out by Hardyís time. Time passes in which Henchard manages to accumulate wealth and respect, even becoming mayor of the town of Casterbridge. Suddenly his wife reappears with her daughter Elizabeth-Jane who Henchard wrongly supposes is his. His tragedy begins to set in as he meets Farfrae who represents the modern, cynical age of new farming methods. Farfrae is not so much his enemy as his inintended rival and gradually takes over Henchardís life and loves including Lucetta. Worse is to come as Newson arrives to take his step-daughter and Farfrae takes over the final parts of Henchardís former life. His great pride irrevocably tarnished, Henchard dies wretchedly on the outskirts of town. The greatest point of interest in the novel is the development of Henchardís character from initial contentedness through bitter attempts to hold onto what he considers Ďhisí to total desparation.