Michael Henchard, the mayor of Casterbridge and a prosperous corn merchant. In his youth, while drunk, he had sold his wife and child to a seaman. Years later, this information becomes known in Casterbridge; as a result, Henchard is ruined. Too stern and unyielding to resume his friendship with Donald Farfrae, his former manager, the headstrong ex-mayor faces declining fortune. Finally, he is forced to declare bankruptcy and is publicly humiliated during the visit of royalty. At last, broken in spirit, he takes refuge in a shack and dies practically friendless.
Susan Henchard-Newson, Henchard’s wife. A plain, simple woman, she finally tires of her husband’s repeated threats to sell her to the highest bidder. When he offers her for sale, she throws her wedding ring at him and leaves with the sailor Newson, her baby in her arms. Years later, thinking Newson drowned, she returns and remarries Henchard.
Elizabeth-Jane Newson, Henchard’s attractive stepdaughter. A proper young woman, she is attracted to the personable young Farfrae. After the death of Lucetta, she marries the young corn merchant.
Donald Farfrae, a corn merchant in Casterbridge and Henchard’s thriving business competitor. At first Henchard’s good friend and manager, he gradually drifts apart from the mayor when...
(The entire section is 478 words.)