Hardy’s powerful tale, set in mid-19th century Dorset, tells the tragic story of Michael Henchard, a man who cannot escape his past.
Drunk on rum at a country fair, Henchard sells his wife to a sailor for five guineas. Unable to find, them and overcome with guilt and remorse, he vows to be teetotal for 21 years.

Many years later his wife seeks him out in Casterbridge, where he has gained both wealth and the well-respected position of mayor. His family restored to him, Henchard’s happiness should be complete. But beneath the surface still smoulders the same impetuousness and temper that, combined with fate, bring about his degradation and ruin.