Chance & Coincidence in The Return of the Native

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      In almost all the novel of Hardy, chance and coincidence plays vital role. Chance and coincidence acts as a decisive factor influencing the destinies of human beings. Hardy believes that human beings are to be governed by the Nature's unknown powers. Man is totally helpless against the invisible might it exercises upon him. Hardy believed in a supernatural power. In Hardy's novels human beings are not fully responsible for their tragedy but mainly because of the intervention of an unknown mysterious force.

The Game of Dice

      The game of dice played between Christian Cantle and Wildeve occurred clearly by accident. Cantle, carrying the money of Mrs. Yeobright meets a group of village folk who take him to a raffle where he luckily wins a prize. Encouraged by this he agrees to play a game of dice with Wildeve, and loses all the money. Venn suddenly appears on the scene and plays with Wildeve and wins the whole amount. He then passes the whole amount to Thomasin. Mrs. Yeobright does not receive any message from Clym. Clym innocently asks Eustacia whether she had received any money from Wildeve, and this question creates a misunderstanding and results in a bitter quarrel between the two women, thus complicating Eustacia's relationship with Clym.

Clym's Semi-blindness

      Clym had planned to start an educational project after his return from Paris. When his educational project, proves a failure, he is compelled to become a furze-cutter. Eustacia thinks that his new job will diminish her social status. Later Eustacia says to Wildeve that "The marriage is not a misfortune in itself. It is simply the accident which has happened since that has been the cause of my ruin." The root cause of the accident is Clym's semi-blindness.

Mrs. Yeobright's Death

      Mrs. Yeobright thinks about Clym's house and decides to reconcile with his son. When she arrives there Wildeve was there talking to Eustacia in the house. Eustacia thinks that Clym, who was sleeping will open the door. Mrs. Yeobright on the other hand thinks that the door was deliberately closed against her. On her way back she is bitten by an adder which proves fatal to her life. Clym has a fierce quarrel with Eustacia and subsequently, she goes to her grandfather's house. Much of the tragedy of the novel thus centers around the closed door to which a number of accidents contribute. One of the peculiar ironies in this context is that Clym sets out to meet his mother for a reconciliation at the same time. Mrs. Yeobright has sat down in the Heath in a state of exhaustion on her homeward journey, being bitten by an adder later.

Venn's Meeting with Johny

      The little boy, Johnny Nunsuch, overhears the conversation between Eustacia and Wildeve, and he happens to meet Venn, the reddleman and informs him about the relation between Wildeve and Eustacia. He thinks that Wildeve would never give up Eustacia and he goes to Mrs. Yeobright and renews his earlier offer to marry Thomasin. Mrs. Yeobright uses this offer as an instrument to put pressure on Wildeve who visits Thomasin, after meeting Eustacia, and promises to marry her. All these happenings are important to the plot but it arises merely out of an accidental meeting.

Eustacia's Death

      Chance and coincidence again plays a major role in the death of Eustacia. On the night which she decides to escape from the Heath, rain and storm hit the place. The weather partly contributes its share for Eustacia's decision to end her life, after she realizes that, since she had no money for her expenses, she would be degrading herself by asking Wildeve for monetary assistance.

University Questions

Bring out the role of chance and coincidence in The Return of the Native.
Or
"An impishness of circumstance invades our life and becomes the cause of our undoing." Discuss on this statement with reference to The Return of the Native.

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