In the remote wildness of Egdon Heath, the crossed love affairs and marriages of a small group of people are played out against the background of nature’s beauty and indifference to mankind. Through a series of vivid incidents and encounters, The Return of the Native moves in a relentless drive towards tragedy, as the plans and dreams of the lovers miscarry, defeated by chance, or destiny or self-deception. In their unhappy stories, Hardy gives us a powerful dramatization of his bleak philosophy, his belief in man’s helplessness before the malevolence of the universe.
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