Her whole relationship with Frank Troy is on impulse. She hears rumours about his wild ways but doesn’t believe them. She is following her heart instead of using her head. This shows determination and stubbornness. Her determination can have positives and negatives. Her stubbornness drives Gabriel away even though he tries to protect her. It stops her from coming to her senses and not marrying Frank Troy, which she comes to regret later on. She has already shown impulsiveness and this is a decision she makes on impulse. Her decision to marry Frank could be called stupid.
At the beginning of the story Bathsheba’s Aunt describes her as a good scholar but “too wild”. Bathsheba and Frank’s marriage was very unsatisfactory. Frank used Bathsheba for her money which he gambled away at races and used to free himself from the army. She displayed poor judgment of his character; even though she was not stupid she may have been naive. He ended up gambling a lot of her savings away. There is also his thoughtless stubbornness as the night of the storm. He gets all the men workers drunk against better judgement. She was dominated by Frank Troy.
She could have married Gabriel when he first proposed to her. She would have easily been happy and in love with him but she is selfish and petty. She only denies him because she does not think he is on the same level as her, she looks down on him. She had no intention of marrying Gabriel but continued to keep him working at the farm because she enjoyed the attention he pays her. Although Gabriel knows at this stage that Bathsheba will not marry him but he wants to be around her. Bathsheba falls for Frank Troy a man who shows her his whole attention, but later on realises this is not a good thing.
She has the tables turned on her later in the story when things get heated between her and Frank, and he tells her he doesn’t love her. Earlier on she had denied Gabriel’s proposal because she did not love him. After this her character grows. She has a better knowledge of understanding and is more aware of others feelings. Her feelings are now changing to selflessness rather than the selfish. Her first display of this is replanting Fanny’s grave and getting the broken guttering fixed so that it will not happen again. Later when Boldwood kills Frank Troy she decides to have him buried with Fanny.
This indicates bravery and courage. She is publicly acknowledging Frank’s relationship with and love for Fanny. This I quite humiliating for her but she puts her feelings aside. Bathsheba shows bravery when Gabriel Oak’s life was in danger. Again after her wedding night when all of the men get drunk with her husband Frank and leave the ricks unprotected, she helps Gabriel when she could have easily walked away. This could be showing selflessness. Though they are Bathsheba’s ricks that are in danger of being ruined, and her money that will be lost. Her act certainly shows bravery.
One of the last acts of selflessness we see is when after Frank Troy’s apparent death she agrees to marry Boldwood. She fears refusing his marriage offer will make him go crazy. She does not want to marry him because she does not love him, but she does not think of herself. On the same day she stops thinking of herself, after Troy dies. She could have left him after everything that had gone on and he has done to her, but she does not and she prepares his body for burial. At the beginning of the story I do not think she would have done this. The biggest change is Bathsheba’s attitude towards love.
When Gabriel asks for her hand in marriage Bathsheba likes the idea, and therefore leads him on without meaning to. Bathsheba’s marriage to Gabriel shows she has changed because she is marrying for love. It’s her experience with Troy that changes her attitude to love and marriage. It is her life experiences which change her attitudes and characteristics throughout the story. She falls in love with Frank Troy an unsuitable man, just like people do in the 21st Century. Bathsheba has a lot of qualities of women today; she is quite unlike a Victorian woman.
It was not a decision women would take in Victorian times to run a farm, let alone without a bailiff. Women nowadays regularly start businesses on their own. Also because in Victorian times the women were meant to act in a more conventional way, it was hard for Bathsheba to stick to her ways but her stubbornness and determination allowed her to. She liked her independence although women in her days did not usually have independence; they relied on their husbands for money but we see Bathsheba being relied on for her money by Frank Troy.
Although legally it would have become his by marriage so he was not doing anything wrong. This is not something women in her day would normally have done. Many women are guilty of infatuation in the 21st Century but not so in Victorian days. 21st century women fall for unsuitable men all the time but it is relatively easy for them to leave, where as in Victorian times it was almost impossible for them to leave; they would not have received any assistance and would have been looked down upon. Bathsheba did not leave Frank Troy but neither did she take him back when he returned.
But she did not have much choice because she was still getting to grips with him returning from the “dead” when Boldwood shot an killed him. She could be described as a forerunner for the 21st century woman; her personality is like a modern woman more than a Victorian one. Natural confidence is shown throughout, very unlike a typical Victorian woman. 21st century women are rarely described as hiding behind their men. The bravery and impulsiveness shown when she travelled to Bath at night was something else that only a wild unruly woman would have done. In the 21st century however many women go out alone and do things on impulse daily.