In Far from the Madding Crowd," how does Gabriel prove his undying loyalty to Bathsheba?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gabriel proves his undying loyalty to Bathsheba by putting aside his own feelings and devoting himself to years of selfless toil and unconditional support for her in both her business endeavors and romantic intrigues.  In the beginning of the story, Gabriel declares his love and asks Bathsheba to marry him, but when his fortunes fail, he loses his farm and is forced to work for her instead.  He uses his expertise uncomplainingly to make Bathsheba's farm profitable solely for her benefit, and is able to be a true friend and confidante to her as she struggles through difficult relationships with other men, even though he still loves her.  His unselfishness and love is such that he even helps Boldwood with his property as well - not too many men would be able to be so kind to an adversary who is courting the woman he himself loves!  When Bathsheba's intrigues end in disaster, Gabriel, respecting her feelings, stays away so that people will not gossip about her.  His undying loyalty is rewarded in the end when Bathsheba finally realizes that she has loved him all along, and the two are finally married.

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Far from the Madding Crowd

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