Fate is the predetermination of events beyond a person’s control.
The quote, “A man’s character is his fate” (Olney 118), proposed by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, supports the idea that a determined end is the outcome of one’s character.
Costing Farfrae his job, Henchard had begun a rivalry with Farfrae – one that he would soon lose (111).
Henchard’s irrational decisions invoked by his emotions lead him down a spiral, and in result, he suffers needlessly because of them.
The reader re-exhibits Henchard’s anger later on in the novel when he prematurely opens a letter from Susan to learn that Elizabeth-Jane is not his birth daughter, but the daughter of Newson, the sailor who had bought Susan with his biological daughter.
Prior to opening the letter, his feelings towards Elizabeth-Jane were positive as he was under the impression that this was his daughter that he had conceived with Susan.
Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, among other various works, attest to this philosophy.
As Henchard falls, Farfrae rises to greatness because of his character.
In addition to his ill-tempered character, one serious flaw that Henchard possesses is his impulsive choices that he makes based on his emotions.
In the first chapter of the novel, Hardy ensures that this flaw is obvious to the reader as Henchard, drunk and angry, sells his wife Susan, and his daughter Elizabeth-Jane, for five guineas at a county fair (19).