The Return of Native is a tragedy or not, is a separate discussion, first of all, will try to know what is a tragedy, in Aristotle’s point of view in Poetic, Tragedy is an action in which a man suffers from happiness to adversity, in which the pity and fear arise, at the end the readers take catharsis. So, as we know that Thomas Hardy is fond of Greek literature and approximately believe in the fatalism theory which is generally used in Greek literature. Hardy also knows as Pessimist in his work approach.
The Return of Native as a tragedy can be examed on the merits of Aristotle’s point of view so far as Cylm is the happiest man in the world and he has no sorrow and pathos, he is doing a good job, he wants to run a school, he is noble man, he is not wicked but has some error of judgment that is essential for a tragedy and tragic hero.
The Return of Native is as a pure tragedy with the philosophy of Hardy, Hardy follows to Greek literature tragedy method in his work. But this is not a pure tragedy in fact, in the true sense because tragedy revolves around one man who is shown to be a leading character and its main character or protagonist is in the Male category but if analyze minutely then we find out there is no tragedy of Clym rather it is the tragedy of Eucstacia I true sense. She has all elements and requirements that are necessary for a tragedy.
Clym is a handsome man and is in Paris and doing a handsome job when the novel starts. He has a desire should go back home and open a school for poor children so that they may get an education. Being a nice guy he has also errors of judgment, thus, his mother.
The Return of Native is a tragedy because we find out numerous pessimist elements as well as fatalistic elements that endow the novel as a tragedy. In the novel, The Return of Native, the main character whose name is Cylm Yeobright strives to escape his tragedy end he meets his tragic end due to his bad fate, being an unlucky man comes in Egdon Heath so that he may spread education to poor people of this area but fate has planed other, Fate is ready for destroying his life.
His fate brings him to the wrong lady whose name is Eustacia, the same as in Tess of the d’urbervilles, Tess meets the wrong man instead of the right man. Eustacia is a cunning lady while Thomasin is an innocent and lovable lady. Both Cylm and as well Thomasin meet with the wrong man in this novel cause of fate.
The return of the native as a Tragedy
Thomas Hardy presents a tragic view of life in his novels. He has been regarded as a pessimist for giving such tragic tales in his novels. He presents life in the trap of fate and being ruled by some external forces. The error committed by the characters and fate thus contributes to bringing the downfall of the tragedy of the man. He introduces his characters under the circumstances of adverse misery and prosperity. He let them free to act in a particular way. The return of the native is the tragic and sadistic story of the characters. The characters themselves involve them in the trap of fate. This all reveals Hardy’s Philosophy in The Return of the Native or it might be said that it is the Greek concept of tragedy.
Clym Yeobright was the inhabitant of Edgon Heath and was living there since his childhood. He was familiar with the environment and the conditions prevailing in that area. He finds the peace of life in the hills of the Heath and he wants o stay there ever as they were friendly to him. He finds himself happy in the presence of Edgon Heath. Hardy has presented a tragic view of his life. He was sent to Paris to earn a better living there. He became prosperous there and was in full swing. He was enjoying the comforts of life but something was irritating him there. He can’t find peace of life there. He wanted to come back to his country. He remained aligned with his native place for some years but now yearning to come back. He can’t abandon Heath for a long period of time. He can’t feel at home in that country.
The tragedy of his life begins with his arrival in his native country. The writer has employed the technique so dramatically that we are amazed at his downfall after his arrival. The misery and the suffering started after his arrival in Edgon Heath. His birthplace proved fatal for him. He always considered his birthplace as friendly and peaceful for him. But he did not aware of the realities of his life. He did not know that he has to face the storm of sufferings after coming back to his country. His birthplace proved fatal and hostile for him.
His tragedy begins with his own free will that he will devote his life to education. He decided that he will work for the education of the children in the country. He will not go back ever. He decided to return back to his native area on his own will and choice. He was living a comfortable and prosperous life as the diamond seller in Paris. But he decided to quit that business and devote his life to education in his own country. He intended to build a school for the education of the Rustics in the town.
He chooses a noble end for the rest of his life and devotes his life to the service of poor people in the town. But his ideas were disrupted and brought a sense of disillusionment in the plot of the novel. He has under the stroke of fate and has to face the ultimate downfall. In order to execute his plans he was working day and night. He was studying till night to better educate the rustic people. That is why he loses his own eyesight and he was turned into the semi-blind sort of person. Now he can’t see the world properly and can’t educate them. He was caught in the trap of his fate. Now he has to face the ultimate end and the stroke of fate.
Now in order to meet his own expenditure he has to work as the furze cutter in the town. This is the great tragic end of his life and now he has to live with the sufferings of life. Hardy’s Philosophy in The Return of the Native becomes clear here, no one can refuse it.
His arrival causes the tragic end of other characters also. Eustacia was a beautiful and optimistic girl. She always planned to better her future and to bring comfort to her life. She seems to be a dreamy girl and always pondering over his better fate. But fate also works against her and proved fatal for her. Fate also brings a tragic end to her ideal life. Her dreams were ruined and she was under the stroke of her fate. She executed the plan to marry the Clym in order to fulfil the desires of her life. She thinks that he is the wealthiest man in the town and has returned back from Paris. She thinks that she will raise her status in the town by marrying him. She was of the view that he will take her abroad with him. She thinks that he will take much care of her because he is in love with her. So she was crazy about her plans to marry him. She always used to seek pleasure and comfort in city life. She always used to offer dejected remarks about Heath. She does not want to stay there anymore. She wants to spend the rest of her life in Paris. She was frustrated with the hostile nature of the Heath. So after the blindness of the Clym, she resumes towards the Wildeve again. She seeks her pleasures in his company. She tries o elope with him from Heath. But the hostile nature of the Heath caught her and she was sent to be drowned in the dark and the stormy night. So her own free will brings her downfall and she was dead at last. She has to live there at last and feel the burden of her frustration.
Hardy has thus presented the tragic end of life. He is of the view that we can’t free ourselves from the stroke of fate. Mrs. Yeobright passionately loved her son and she forbids him to avoid marrying Eustacia. That thing aroused a quarrel between them and forced them to live separately. This thing led them to suffer individually in their houses. This also resulted in the death of her mother because nobody was there to rescue her mother when she was bitten by a snake. So we can analyze the fact that the fate and free will of the man bring his downfall. Hardy has presented the tragedy of the characters with a pessimistic outlook.