Eustacia Vie As The Heroine Of Return Of The Native

1183 words - 5 pages

There is no doubt that Eustacia Vie is the Heroine of the tragedy "Return of the Native". Without the majestic air that Miss Vie adds to the novel we are left with a typical period soap drama. Eustacia Vie is on more then one occasion compared to classical characters of Greek mythology, and even in her death the nobility of her figure evokes images of classical sculpture."Pallor did not include all the quality of her complexion, which seemed More the whiteness; it was almost light. The expression of her finely Curved mouth was pleasant, as if a sense of dignity had just compelled Her to leave off speaking."

 The almost Godly representation of the character juxtaposes the 'rebellious adolescent' image that is created by Eustacias' pathetic attempts at passion and love. This serves as a direct comparison between Eustacia and Egdon Heath. Just as the heath seems simple and unappealing but is full of  underlying Majesty, such is the character of the heroine only opposite; on the exterior, majestic and beautiful but on the inside a selfish plain teenager searching for an adventure. Eustacia Vie appears doomed almost from the moment she walks onto the stage of Egdon heath and Hardy uses classical allusions of Greek tragedy to force the audience to reflect upon the implications of her suffering. The heroine is labelled a witch by some of the heath dwellers on account of her power over men. Her dark form and figure and allusions to darkness in general support the superstitious accusations. Furthermore, her total selfishness could, at some points be defined as almost fiendish. Eustacia's character is intriguing because it is one which Confuses the audience; as much as they long to despise her, they are ultimately forced to pity her.

      Eustacia's role in the novel is to play the part of the 'social rebel' an outcast from the rest of the heath's inhabitants it seems that hardy is suggesting that she is not suited with the environment of the heath. In fact, it is because she is isolated from society that she is so perfectly suited to the isolation of the heath. At early stages in the novel it is hard to keep an open mind about Eustacia Vie. Her actions appear selfish and ridiculous and readers cannot help but criticise the total lack of compassion for Thomasin as she seduces her fiancé. Eustacias behaviour, on a closer inspection cannot be condemned as self-centred because her reaction was perfectly natural of one lacking in communal influence.  Living with her withdrawn grandfather, Eustacia does not have a normal family to provide the human relationship she lacks because of her separation from the heath people. As a social outcast and an orphan, Eustacia finds herself isolated from the people who might teach her the values of Christian charity. Eustacia understandably does not feel compelled to sacrifice her own happiness for people to whom she feels no connection. When she seems unconcerned about the...

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