Gabriel Oak, a sturdy young English farmer. Refused as a husband by Bathsheba Everdene, he also loses his farm through ill luck. Disheartened by these events, he becomes a shepherd and is taken on at the farm just inherited by his beloved. Although the girl proposes to manage the farm herself, she soon puts more and more of its affairs into the hands of Gabriel Oak, whose skill and loyalty she can trust. Saying no more of love or marriage, Gabriel watches the courtship of Bathsheba by Mr. Boldwood, a well-to-do farmer of the neighborhood. He also watches when she is courted by Sergeant Francis Troy and becomes the latter’s wife. During this time, although disappointed in love, Gabriel is so successful at managing his beloved’s farm that he becomes the manager of Mr. Boldwood’s farm as well. When Bathsheba’s marriage ends tragically and Mr. Boldwood is imprisoned for murder, Gabriel still loyally serves both. He finally decides to leave England. When he informs Bathsheba of his intention, she suddenly realizes that she loves the loyal young farmer. She reveals her love for him, and they are married.
Bathsheba Everdene, a vain and unpredictable young woman of great beauty, loved for many years by Gabriel Oak. Despite her personal weaknesses, she is a practical woman after taking over the farm inherited from her uncle. She hires Gabriel as a shepherd but soon makes him the bailiff in all but name. She rejects the proposal of Mr. Boldwood, a well-to-do neighbor, but she readily falls to the audacious lovemaking of Sergeant Troy. Though she loves him, she distrusts his character; she travels to Bath to break the engagement with him, but her trip results in their marriage. The marriage is unfortunate, for her husband is a wasteful, disloyal man who has married her without love, attracted by her beauty and her money. After being revealed as the seducer of one of the farm girls, he disappears and is presumed dead. His wife gradually admits Mr. Boldwood as a suitor once again, but Troy...
(The entire section is 843 words.)