The Mayor of Casterbridge

by Thomas Hardy

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How would you sketch the character of Lucetta Templeman? How is she a foil to the other characters?

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One of Lucetta Templeman's most prominent character traits is opportunism. Having once been Henchard's mistress, she comes to Casterbridge after she hears that his wife has died with the plan to marry him. She writes to him of this plan:

I have come here in consequence of hearing of the death of your wife—whom you used to think of as dead so many years before! . . . As soon as I knew she was no more, it was brought home to me very forcibly by my conscience that I ought to endeavour to disperse the shade which my etourderie flung over my name, by asking you to carry out your promise to me.

However, as soon as she meets the younger, more handsome Farfae, she becomes interested in him. She has become self-sufficient after inheriting some money, but she remains interested in having a wealthy husband. As she is somewhat older than he is, Farfae is likewise interested in her wealth. Once she decides to pursue him, she forgets her old lover.

Lucetta had come to Casterbridge to quicken Henchard's feelings with regard to her. She had quickened them, and now she was indifferent to the achievement.

Lucetta, showing no scruples about breaking up Farfae and Elizabeth-Jane Henchard, marries Farfae. However, she is disgraced when her past indiscretions come to light, and she soon dies during a miscarriage.

Her character best serves as a foil to that of Elizabeth-Jane, who is pure and blameless and shows devotion both to Henchard, even when it turns out he is not her father, and to Farfae, ultimately accepting him after Lucette’s death.

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