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The Mayor of Casterbridge

Thomas Hardy

Character Analysis Abel Whittle

At first singled out for his extreme simplicity, Abel Whittle becomes more the faithful follower than the scatterbrain as the story develops. From the clownish bumpkin of the trousers episode he becomes in his fidelity to the dying Henchard a figure comparable to Lear's Fool. His care for Henchard is an ironic instance of the completeness of Henchard's fall, for Abel, the lowliest character in the book, is Henchard's last tie to humanity.