The case with Thomas Hardy’s novel, Return of
The Power of Fate
Fate, a term which seems to appear every so often in the everyday world, can be a powerful force when dealing with the predetermination of events. Whether in the past, present or future, fate can change how things were, or are supposed to be. As William Jennings Byran, a famous military colonel, once said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is not a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing which is to happen.” Fate cannot be altered and is something which must happen to everyone and everything.
As is the case with Thomas Hardy’s novel, Return of the Native. Without the element of fate, the plot of Return of the Native would have drastically changed because most of the events included in the plot would not have taken place. Every happening in the novel was important in adding to the plot and having its own significance, which made the novel the great story which it was and still is. Whether it was the deaths of Mrs. Yoebright, Eustacia, and Damon, or the other significant parts included in the plot, fate was reason for every one of them occurring.
The plot to the novel begins about the time Eustacia discovers that Clym Yoebright is returning to the countryside. Since Clym was a diamond merchant, Eustacia believed that he could get her out of the Heath, Eustacia’s home and the very place she wants to flee. Believing that Damon, the man she is having a relationship with, would not be able to accomplish this task for her, she turns to Clym. The person who can very well be her ticket out of her homeland. Since this was meant to happen for Eustacia, it was her fate for Clym to return to the moors. By this happening, it creates the conflict between Mrs. Yoebright and her son Clym. When Clym begins to spend most of his time with Eustacia, his mother gets jealous and gives him an ultimatum of choosing between her and Eustacia. With him not making a decision, Mrs. Yoebright tells her son to cease living in the same household as her. With fate starting this conflict, when Clym came back home to the Moors, the same reason was to blame for the separation between the two characters. The reason being is that none of the characters could have prevented this from happening, simply because it was meant to be. With all these things happening, they set the fate for the three characters which die because of the unalterable events which cause them to occur.
Firstly, the death of Mrs. Yoebright was a direct result of Fate because of how it came to Mrs. Yoebright attempting the walk to her son’s home to make amends with him. Before this could happen, there had to be a string of events which made it her fate that she dies. These events began with the gambling of the inheritance money that Mrs. Yoebright gave to Christien to deliver to Clym and his cousin. The reason for her doing that was to try to get Clym to forgive her for throwing him out of her home, but of course, as the saying goes, “what might go wrong, can and will.” On the way to deliver the money, Christien runs into a group bound for gambling, where he enters a lottery and wins. This encourages Christien to bet the inheritance with Damon Wildeve, since he believes that he will go on a lucky winning streak. After winning the money from Christien, Damon is challenged by Diggory Venn, who in turn, wins the money from Wildeve. Fate takes a hold of Mrs. Yoebright, when she doesn’t hear from her son after believing that he had received the money. The reason for her going to visit Clym. But when nobody answers the door and she leaves disappointed to make the long walk back home, when she faints and dies of an Adder bite. Mrs. Yoebright could not have done anything to change what happened to her, because it just was supposed to happen the way it did. With the death of Mrs. Yoebright, it was Eustacia and Damon’s turns to be engulfed by Fate, causing both of their deaths. This occurs from the point of when Eustacia is upset at herself for most likelihood, causing the death of Mrs. Yoebright by not allowing her in the house, because she had Damon over.
To try to console herself, Eustacia decides to go to a dance where she meets up with Damon and finds out about his newly acquired wealth. This rekindles Eustacia’s interest in Wildeve and she believes that he can now get her out of her homeland by asking him to take her to Paris. At this point their fates are already set, for they both have no idea of what awaits them from this decision. When they attempt to runaway together the next night, Clym and Damon’s wife, Thomasin, try to locate them among the Heath. But when Clym finds Damon waiting for Eustacia, the finales to their fates occur when Eustacia falls into the river, because it is when the climax to the novel occurs as well. When Clym and Damon jump into the water to save Eustacia from drowning, Damon dies along with Eustacia in the rescue effort. Luckily for Clym, Fate had it that Diggory Venn was around when they jumped, because if he wasn’t, Clym would have not been rescued by him and most likely would have perished along with Eustacia and Damon. From the beginning of the novel, Eustacia and Damon were bound to either live or die together, but since both of those things cannot coincide with each other, only one could prevail in the presence of Fate. Since death was their final outcome, it left a few more things to be decided by Fate, such as the marriage of Thomasin and Diggory, which would not have occurred had Damon survived the jump into the river.
With Damon gone, and Thomasin left alone, Diggory takes the chance to restart the relationship with her, which they once had in the past. With both of them at one time having a relationship with one another, and then parting ways for a long time, it was only the work of Fate that brought them back together once again. Author Henry Miller once said, every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him. A good interpretation of what happened with the characters of Thomasin and Damon, because even though they believed that their time together had ended, Fate proved them wrong by reuniting them in the end.
As the most famous playwright of all time, William Shakespeare said, it is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves. Destiny, or Fate, is something which is predetermined and cannot and will not ever, by any person or thing. As for the characters in Return of the Native, their fates were something that they had no control over, and even though some of them benefited, and others didn’t, it was the only way which things could have happened for each and every one of them. It is evident that the plot would not have taken place the same without the presence of Fate, since the entire story is based on events which occurred because of this strange force.