Jude The Obscure: Part 6, Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 6: Chapter VII

      Synopsis: Arabella's clever scheme to remarry Jude - supplies constant drinks to him to keep him confused in a half somnolent state - friends invited to a party after three days - party continues from night to next morning - Jude is cornered after her fathers declaration that he promised to marry Arabella - marries her for the sake of his honour tipsy and shaky even at the time of marriage.

      Arabella and her fool-proof plan to marry. Next morning Arabella told her father that she had got a prize upstairs and that was her would be husband. And it was none but Jude, her original one. And then she disclosed her plan to her amazed father. Jude must be kept there till they were married again in a jolly mood. She asked her father to be civil to him and she would do the rest. Then she went upstairs and found Jude still in a tipsy and half - somnolent state. She told him that he could stay there till he was quite fit. But when Jude said that he wondered what the people at his lodgings might be thinking about him, she told that she would go there to inform them about his illness. So she went to his lodgings and according to her plan brought all his belongings to her place. Next she requested her father to keep plenty of good liquor in the house to keep Jude cheerful and suggested that it would be better to invite a few friends to a party. It would serve her purpose as well as advertise the shop.

      Jude encouraged to drink heavily. As suggested by Arabella the party took place just after three days when Jude had recovered to some extent. But still his mind was confused due to constant drinking. Arabella invited some of their friends and acquaintances in the neighbourhood. The drinking party started in the evening and continued throughout the night. Jude's old friend Tinker Taylor lived in that locality. He saw the party going on in the evening. And when he came there to buy something in the morning he found the drinking and the card-playing still continuing. He was also invited to join the party and he gladly accepted. Soon Arabella declared before the guests: "Jude and I have decided to make up matters between us by tying the knot again." She also informed her father that she had made all the arrangements with the parson. But when she asked Jude to proceed to the church in keeping with his promise, he flatly denied making any promise. But then her father asked him to be honourable as he had been living in his house for three days on the understanding that he was going to marry his daughter. At this Jude averred that he was even prepared to marry a whore rather than do anything dishonourable.

      Jude compelled to remarry rather fraudulently. Soon Arabella and her father along with Jude started for the church. But before departing she asked the guests to stay on for breakfast. When they disappeared the guests started discussing the strange situation with great interest. One expressed his doubt if Jude would do it at all. But Tinker Taylor said that as it was a question of honour on his part he could not but do it. Soon the party returned and Arabella triumphantly declared that she was Mrs. Fawley again. But from her talk it was quite clear that Jude had remained tipsy and half-somnolent. Still he asserted that he would do anything to save a woman's honour and then laughed a drunken man's laugh.

Critical Analysis
      Arabella's character revealed in the vilest colour. This chapter reveals Arabella's character at its worst. It shows what a scheming, unscrupulous and a matter-of-fact woman she was, with rank passion but without any finer sentiments. The way she looks at sleeping Jude and feels that he was worth recapturing shows that she was a woman of rank passion. Then her planning about the party and keeping the guests at her place till she could remarry Jude reveals her as a consummate strategist. She has no scruples about plying Jude with drink in order to trick him into marriage.

      Humour and satire. This chapter abounds in humour tinged with satire. In the beginning we find how Sue calls Jude "A husband almost". Then Tinker Taylor's careful estimate of her physical charms and his concluding remarks that half pence that have been in circulation can't be expected to look like new ones from the mint', is really funny. But there is a sting of satire too in it. Then Arabella's description of Jude's behaviour in the church is funny and amusing. According to her it would have even made a cat laugh. But there is a touch of satire in this too.

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