Bathsheba and Oak are both very significant characters in the book. The books story constantly revolves around Bathsheba and in my opinion she is the main character in the book. This young, pretty lady ends up changing the lives of three men forever. Her charms, vanity and the way in which she entraps men with her beauty leaves one man dead and one hanged for murder. Throughout the book she is constantly undecided yet I feel that Oak always seems to play the leading male role in her life even after she marries Troy. Although she does not like Oak the moment she sees him.Order now
When the two characters first meet in the book Gabriel sees a carriage loaded with furniture on top of the hill, Bathsheba is sitting on top of it. He becomes interested in the lady sitting on top of the hill and as the carriage is about to leave he “followed the vehicle to the turnpike gate some way beyond the bottom of the hill, where the object of his contemplation now halted for the payment of the toll.” Oak is obviously interested in the lady but the scene unfolds as Bathsheba decides not to pay the turnpike keeper the two pence that he wants. Gabriel approaches and gives the keeper the money.
“Let the young woman pass” Bathsheba is neither pleased nor dismissive of Oak yet because of him she has lost her point. She thinks nothing of it apart from being a little disgruntled and carries but Gabriel talks to the gatekeeper who mentions her vanity. This casual meeting introduces the two characters to each other for the first time, little does Bathsheba know that this seemingly insignificant farmer will play such a great role in her life.
A short while after the event Gabriel catches a glimpse of Bathsheba from a “birds eye view”, this is the moment when Gabriel decides that there is something about Bathsheba that he longs for. “Having for some time known the want of a satisfactory form to fill an increasing void within him, his position moreover affording the widest scope for his fancy, he painted her a beauty.” Oak sees Bathsheba riding through his plantation and he sees her lying back on her horse without a sidesaddle riding around and revealing herself in a way that she would not had anybody been around. She does not know he is watching but she covers herself and carries on, Oak knows that he is in love. When she rides back he returns the hat and mentions that he saw her earlier, at this moment she blushes because she realises that he had seen her. Gabriel was so in love with her that he waited for her to come past the hedge every day, he “had reached a peak of existence he never could have anticipated a short time before.”
Gabriel decides to marry Bathsheba but he is deceived by Bathsheba’s aunt into thinking Bathsheba has many sweethearts already. Bathsheba runs after him to say that this is untrue. He assumes that she wants to marry him and says that he is doing all right in life and that she could have a piano and so on. Bathsheba is excited but she “would hate to be thought men’s property in that way”, she likes the idea of marriage but she does not like the prospect of all the responsibility afterwards, she is not impressed by Gabriel’s property and she is definitely unimpressed by the thought of having “a little piano”. Bathsheba needs taming.
Gabriel is devastated when he hears that Bathsheba is leaving but she returns. There are many small meetings that they have but the important event is when after Gabriel’s disaster with the sheep he comes to her farm in need of help, he wants her to employ him as a shepherd because nobody else will. Later on in the book after Boldwood is introduced Gabriel is shearing sheep when Boldwood comes to see Bathsheba to propose to her. When he sees what is going something ticks in his mind and he snips the sheep to divert Bathsheba and Boldwood’s attention.
After Oak hears that Boldwood has proposed to Bathsheba she asks him to contradict all rumours about her marriage that are occurring between the workers, he refuses. He says that he will give her his point of view about her actions. Bathsheba refuses to her it yet after thinking about it, changes her mind. Gabriel rebukes her and she resolves to serious measures. “I cannot allow any man to – to criticize my private conduct!” “Nor will I for a minute. So you’ll please leave the farm at the end of the week!” No sooner has Bathsheba dismissed Oak than she needs him again. The sheep are in trouble and will die unless Oak comes to save them. Bathsheba is reluctant to let Oak return yet the lives of her sheep are at stake.
She tells Joe to get Gabriel to come immediately yet Oak refuses because Bathsheba is not being polite. He knows that it is a desperate situation yet he is witty and toys with her. Eventually Gabriel saves the sheep and the incident is resolved with Bathsheba letting him stay at the farm again. This is the part of the book where Oak finds out that Bathsheba relies on him because in fact she does not know too much about running a farm, he is once again re assured that maybe he will be able to have a relationship with her.
When Troy comes into play Oak yet again warns Bathsheba against the man but Bathsheba is already in love and takes no notice to Gabriel’s concerns. After Gabriel pursues Bathsheba whilst she is on her way to Bath he is comforted by the fact that she is going to Bath to refuse Troy nevertheless Bathsheba returns from Bath and marries Troy. Oak sees the weakness of Bathsheba’s relationship with Troy and realises how incompetent at running the farm Troy is.
Troy ends up controlling most aspects of the farm and ignoring Bathsheba’s wishes even though he is uncertain of what he is doing. Bathsheba married Troy between jealousy and distraction and it is clear that she is discontent with him as a husband. With a storm brewing and the men drunk Oak covers the hayricks with Bathsheba helping him but when lightning strikes they are in the barn, together as they should be. She is upset at the aspect of further married life with Troy yet she knows that Gabriel Oak will always love her, be there for her, and she thanks him for his devotion.