Character Sketch of Clym Yeobright In “Return Of The Native” is on of the central character of the story. Whenever a reader of any literature, studies any literary composition as fiction, drama, novel, etc. He comes to know the theme, subject matter as well as the central figure to whom the whole story or action of the plot revolves round that is called later as a hero or heroine of that particular literary composition.
As far as the matter of “The Return of the Native” is concerned, here Clym Yeobright is the central figure or character who is the real life and soul of the novel. It seems that the story of the novel has been written from his point of view because all the major and minor characters are directly and indirectly linked with him.Actually, he is the “native” and whose “return” to Egdon Heath leads the destinies of the others to their finalization.
He has his unique and most striking qualities in his personality which are his intense desire to serve his fellows, his deep love for his mother, her strong love for Egdon Heath, his pure and genuine passion of love for Eustasia, his outstanding capacity for endurance of misfortune. Clym is a man of worldly knowledge and experiences as he lived and traveled in the most advanced cities of the world. He is a man of deep observations and meditations.
He is of the view that “thought is a disease of flesh.” His philosophy of life is very apt as he says that beauty and philosophy do not go together. Same is the case with this handsome guy. During his stay in Paris, he even does not forget his native people in a single moment as he has always had a great love and devotion for his native town. He is not attracted by the artificial and pompous life of a metropolitan city of Paris rather he feels himself bored there but he feels joyful and happy in his birth place. He wants to lead his remaining life in Egdon Heath because he loves this place by the cores of his heart and considers this place as a paradise to live.
He even gets angry with his wife Eustasia when she speaks some ill words against Heath. It is his. In materialistic nature, he is not impressed by the materialistic and worldly trends of the people of Paris whose only aim is to gather the riches and wealth of the world. That’s why, he says goodbye to this life of worldly pursuits and returns to his native life which is much closer to spirituality and nature.
He makes the decision to come back to Heath so that he can open a school there in order to educate or serve the people there. Though he is not supported or encouraged by his mother in his plan yet he is determined in his purpose of educating the people of his native place.
As he is a man of knowledge and is highly qualified as compared to the other school masters in the area. Being sincere, faithful and selfless, he strictly adheres to his intention of serving the poor and ignorant subjects of this background area. In fact, he wants to impart and convey the true information and knowledge of the artificial life of Paris or big cities. Through his stay in Paris, he wants to tell the importance of simple, spiritual and natural life of the native towns. As we know that Clym is dead, determined in his purpose and decision and he does not give up his intention even when Eustasia urges him not to do so and go back to Paris.
Only it is his semi-blindness y or weak eyesight which compels him to close his educational project otherwise he would have carried for his whole remaining life. However, his zeal for such great human purpose is really praiseworthy.
Wildeve has rightly said about him;
“He is an enthusiastic about ideas, and careless about outward things.”
As he is a man of loving nature so he loves every body by the cores of his heart. It is very obvious that he is attracted by the beauty and charms of Eustasia and falls in love with Eustasia. Though his mother does not approve of his choice of Eustasia as his life partner and awares him that she is not suitable wife for him yet we see that he adheres to his decision. Eustasia has already informed him of her past love – affair with Wildeve so his mother’s arrow remains fruitless. He leaves his mother’s home and settles in a small cottage. According to his mother, he is obstinate and pig-headed.
Apart from these minor flaws in his character, he is also somewhat a man of romantic touch. After being allured and attracted by the charms & physical beauty of Eustasia, he says to her,
“Let me look right into your moon lit face and dwell on every line and curve in it.”
There is no doubt that his passion of love for Eustasia is genuine, pure, deep and enthusiastic but his passion is hurt or defeated when his project of educating the people is not only supported or encouraged but badly hated by Eustasia and his mother. Eustasia hates such kinds of projects and does not like that her husband should live in this backward atmosphere.
Eustasia, being an outsider, does not like living permanently in Heath but also wants her husband to leave Heath. On the basis of these differences of opinions, their marriage soon gets spoiled and ultimately they are separated from one another. Clym proves to be a thoughtful, reflective, contented and intellectual type of man while Eustasia is absolutely artificial, materialistic, discontented, weak-minded. and passionate. Clym is absolutely contented with the atmosphere of rural life while Eustasia is dissatisfied with it and always dreams of living and enjoying the pleasures of the life of Paris.
As Clym’s eyesight gets weak and he accepts his semi-blindness as a decree of fate and adopts a humble occupation of Furze-cutting to earn his livelihood. Eustasia does not like this occupation of her husband and feels more humiliated and degraded.
Fate also plays its role in the form of accidents and co-incidents in separating Clym and Eustasia. Eustasia is not only different from her husband temperamentally but also from her mother-in-law. It is his hard luck that he loses both his mother and dear wife. He tries his best to save them both but fate is dominant in both cases. He loves his mother devotedly and the sorrow & anguish which he expresses on finding her dead body, are beyond in describing in words. It is her death which breaks his heart and he holds himself responsible for the deaths of his wife and mother.
How fate plays its role so hard on him that he wanted to go to his mother’s house for reconciliation but unfortunately, she died on the same day. Clym is a man of keeping heart of an affectionable and considerate level and wants to do something of welfare and betterment for Thomasin. When she becomes a widow and he loses Eustasia, he even decides to propose to her just for her sake otherwise he is least interested in getting married again.
At the end of the novel, we see that due to his semi blindness, Clym becomes a preacher. As he has a great interest in educating his people with ethics and morals so, he, being a lecturer on moral subjects, shows a broader and liberal attitude and becomes a secularist in his creeds.
To conclude this topic, it can be said vehemently and forcefully that character of Clym Yeobright dominates on all the other characters. As a whole, character of Clym Yeobright plays multidimensional roles in this novel. All the major and minor characters are directly and indirectly connected with him. He was a careerist in Paris. In the whole course of the novel, he either plays.role of an educationist or Furze-cutting or as a responsible husband or as a preacher.