The Mayor of Casterbridge is a tragedy, in the tradition of the Greek tragedies and the plays Othello and King Lear . However, the novel still ends with a hope for humanity. The belief that fate is to blame is a tool of the past, of the superstitious farmers such as the townspeople. When Michael believes that fate is destroying him, his problems continue. Only when Michael looks into the future by casting off old beliefs is he able to change. When he sacrifices duty for love of Elizabeth-Jane, he becomes more aware of his feelings as an individual. That is humaity's only way to escape the pain of life: by relying on present instead of past, character instead of fate, the individual instead of the multitude.