Explain the theme of love in "Far from the Madding Crowd."
The theme of love in Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd" can best be described as unrequited. The characters in the novel deny love to themselves and to others throughout. The poor farmers Oak and Boldwood both have feelings for the beautiful and mysterious Bathsheba. Bathsheba, although she does not have feelings for Boldwood, marries him and denies her hand to Oak who she does have feelings for. Love and duty are confused throughout the novel. Love is also altered by Hardy's views on fate. He believed that events were destined and that humans can not alter their paths. This sense of unrequited mirrors the frustration caused by Hardy's fatalist worldview.