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Tess of the d’Urbervilles Questions and Answers 10/15

Tess of the d’Urbervilles Questions and Answers 10/15

 

1. Q. Discuss the themes presented in the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles of Thomas Hardy.

Or,

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Q. How do nature and fate play a role in this novel?[Tess of the d’Urbervilles Questions and Answers 10/15]

There are many inherent themes in Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Some major themes have been discussed here.

Pride

Tess, from the outset, is described as having pride. When her father is mocked, she loses her temper over the insult because “Tess’s pride would not allow her to turn her head again, to learn what her father’s meaning was, if he had any.” Tess begins with pride as a positive trait, but it becomes something of a hindrance, leading her into destitution when she refuses to compromise by asking for the Clares’ help, which Angel arranged for.

Tess’s father’s extreme pride leads him to respond to the discovery of their ancestry

by spending money they can’t afford and drinking so that Tess and her brother—both barely awake—are left to complete the work he fails to do. This leads to the death of Prince, their horse. The same pride over the discovery of their ancestry leads Mr. and Mrs. Durbeyfield to send Tess into Alec’s clutches. Tess’s pride makes her seek work rather than a handout, for “Tess’s pride made the part of poor relation one of particular distaste to her.”

It is not only the Durbeyfields who are guilty of pride. Angel’s pride is stung by Tess’s past, although he too comes to their marriage with a secret. His reaction, and the pride that won’t let him stay and work things out, sends him away to Brazil, causing the ruin of Tess’s life.

After Angel leaves, Tess lets pride keeps her from returning to the employ of the Cricks as well as seeking money from Mr. Clare. Furthermore, she gives her money to her parents rather than admit she has no further funds, taking “twenty-five of the fifty pounds Clare had given her, and hand[ing] the sum over to her mother, as if the wife of a man like Angel Clare could well afford it, saying that it was a slight return for the trouble and humiliation she had brought upon them in years past.” Tess’s pride causes a duality in her character: for one so honest and moral, her exaggerated sense of pride impels her to perpetuate a lie and causes hardship for herself and others. Indeed when the hardship is no longer bearable, she ignores her pride and demeans herself, according to her own moral standards, far more than seeking money due her as Angel’s wife.

Fate

Fate, or destiny determined by a power beyond an individual’s control, is a clear and pervasive theme in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. No matter what Tess attempts, trouble follows and impedes her. From the moment her father learned of the family’s heritage and went to the pub to celebrate, the wheels of Tess’s fate were set in motion. Seemingly random events—the pub, the beehives, the dead horse-happen on the day on which the Durbeyfields learn that they are d’Urbervilles. It is as if awareness of their ancestry sets their fate into motion. It is fate, or predestination, that Tess cannot escape.

In fact the narrator implies the crime Tess suffered at Alec’s hands may have been her fate because of her ancestors. “Doubtless some of Tess d’Urberville’s mailed ancestors rollicking home from a fray had dealt the same measure even more ruthlessly towards peasant girls of their time.” At the same time the narrator opposes the idea that although “to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children may be a morality good enough for divinities, it is scorned by average human nature.” The acknowledgment is that her fate is unjust, but fate has little to do with justice.

Fate is also addressed in more subtle ways. Tess’s goals are out of reach because of fate. “She had hoped to be a teacher at the school, but the fates seemed to decide otherwise.” In reality the obstacles she initially faces-her family’s poverty and her father’s drunkenness—are fated. She was born into this family, and their situation is out of her hands. She may strive to change the course of her life, but the novel sets forth the idea that fate cannot be overcome. Tess also looks at other characters’ fate rather than merely bemoaning her own. When hearing of Retty’s attempted suicide and Marian’s drinking after Angel and Tess married, Tess is critical of their treatment by fate. “They were simple and innocent girls on whom the unhappiness of unrequited love had fallen; they had deserved better at the hands of Fate.” But Tess, too, believes their actions are fated—they had no choice other than what they have done. To accept fate in such a way indicates determinism, that individuals have no control over their actions. And this is more or less Hardy’s belief.

Ultimately the most direct statement about the inevitability of fate is made when Jack Durbeyfield dies: “Thus the Durbeyfields, once d’Urbervilles, saw descending upon them the destiny which, no doubt, when they were among the Olympians of the county, they had caused to descend many a time,” says the narrator. And “severely enough, upon the heads of such landless ones as they themselves were now.” Fate has dealt cruelly with the Durbeyfields, and whether or not it is a visiting of the “sins of the father,” this final act of fate in Tess’s life is the one that takes away her ability to follow her sense of morality. Responsibility for her family, foisted on her when her father dies, causes her to accept the only path left to her for providing for them. Accepting Alec’s offers results in his fate death-at her hands, much as in the legend of the d’Urberville coach, where the sound of an invisible coach serves as a bad omen.

Injustice

The theme of injustice pairs with both pride and fate. There is little justice in the lives of the rural classes in Hardy’s novel. However, the leisure to ponder such things is not theirs to have. At Farmer Groby’s farm, they “worked on hour after hour, unconscious of the forlorn aspect they bore in the landscape, not thinking of the justice or injustice of their lot.” The ability to ponder such questions is a privilege that comes with financial and leisure. in his security Conversely, for all his weaknesses Angel does consider what is fair and just courtship of Tess, even if he misjudges this. He is aware she is powerless because of her gender and economic status; therefore he treats her more justly than anyone else has done. “Their condition of domiciliary comradeship put her, as the woman, to such disadvantage by its enforced intercourse, that he felt it unfair to her to exercise any pressure of blandishment which he might have honestly employed had she been better able to avoid him.” Indeed, even after abandoning her unjustly, he thinks about being fair, becoming “weary and anxious” and wondering “if he had treated her unfairly.” Whether these thoughts redeem him is another matter.

Any question he has on the matter is one Tess can answer when she reaches the end of her endurance and “a sudden rebellious sense of injustice caused the region of her eyes to swell with the rush of hot tears.” Angel has abandoned her unfairly and has added to the many difficulties she has had to face. She writes to him eventually to tell him “You are cruel, cruel indeed! I will try to forget you. It is all injustice I have received at your hands!” For Tess there has been no fairness, no justice. Hardy emphasizes this at the conclusion of the novel. “Justice’ was done, and the President of the Immortals, in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with Tess.”

Paganism and Christianity

Thomas Hardy struggled with his own religious beliefs, and that struggle comes through in his work. He idealized the paganism of the past but was also attached to his family’s Christianity, and generally he accepted some sort of supernatural being that controlled fate. Tess herself is usually portrayed as an embodiment of that pagan innocence, a sort of English Nature goddess. She first appears performing the fertility ritual of May-Day, then bedecked in flowers from Alec, whistling to Mrs. d’Urberville’s birds, and mercifully killing the wounded pheasants. Angel describes her as a “new-sprung child of nature” and compares her to mythical women like Eve, Artemis, and Demeter. There is another side of Tess’s “divinity” as well, however: the role of sacrificial victim, which is a figure associated with both paganism and Christianity. Like Jesus, Tess is punished for the sins of another, assuming the weight of guilt for Alec’s crime. When the police finally come to arrest her for murder, she is lying asleep at Stonehenge like a sacrifice on an altar. Stonehenge was thought at Hardy’s time to be a heathen temple.

The Christian end of the spectrum is particularly associated with the Clare family and Alec d’Urberville. Each character seems to have a different form and expression of faith, and Hardy critiques them all with empathy from his own religious wrestling. Most of his respect goes to the intense but charitable Mr. Clare, while Alec’s conversion is depicted more as a product of his fickle thrill-seeking than any deep emotion, and the conformist Clare brothers are mocked for blindly following every fashionable doctrine. Angel’s skepticism and Tess’s vague beliefs take the most prominence, and neither moves much past Hardy’s own state of doubt.

Nature and Modernity

The cruel hand of fate hangs over all the characters and actions of the novel, as Tess Durbeyfield’s story is basically defined by the bad things that happen to her. Thomas Hardy himself, as the author of the novel, obviously causes the many unfair coincidences and plot twists that beset Tess, but as narrator he also manages to appear as her only advocate against an unjust world. Tess’s hardships are described as mere sport for the “President of the Immortals,” which contrasts with the Christian idea of a God who has a benevolent plan for everyone, and connects with the notes of paganism throughout the novel. Hardy points out and emphasizes the multiple unhappy coincidences that take place, like Tess overhearing Angel’s brothers instead of meeting his father. The novel basically keeps asking the age-old question “why do bad things happen to good people?” Hardy even muses over the possibility that Tess’s sufferings are a punishment for her ancestors’ crimes, or else that some murderous strain is in her blood, foreshadowed by the d’Urberville coach.

The “justice” meted out by the society around Tess is just as cruel as the “President of the Immortals.” Both her community and Angel condemn Tess for her rape, which was not her sin but Alec’s. She is seen as someone to be criticized and cast aside because of a terrible thing done to her, rather than something she did herself . Her final execution emphasizes the feeling that society, circumstance, and some external force, whether Thomas Hardy or a god, have been working against her the whole time.

Purity and Fallen Women

The theme of purity and its inversion, fallen women, is central to the novel. Tess strives to maintain her purity, but it is under attack from the moment she meets Alec. However, the text hints at this from the first sight of Tess-in a white dress with a red ribbon. She is presented as “pure” (white dress), but there is a hint of sexuality (red ribbon). This is further addressed when Tess meets Alec and he tucks flowers in her dress and feeds her red fruit (strawberries). Her initial appearances do not convey an awareness of the threat to her purity; however, a reader of the era would have seen it.

When Tess is aware of the threats to her purity, she is defenseless. “But I don’t want anybody to kiss me, sirl’ she implored, a big tear beginning to roll down her face, and the corners of her mouth trembling in her attempts not to cry” (Chapter 8). After she has been raped, she is at a loss as to how to address the matter. “Suppose your sin was not of your own seeking?” (Chapter 13). The question of purity is not only thematic in the text; it is also a theme, a social issue, and a driving force behind the novel.

As part of this theme, addressing the topic of marriage is inevitable. Alec, Angel, and Tess all ponder whether or not Alec is her rightful husband. As the man who ended her purity, the only way to regain it to any degree is via marriage to Alec. Tess fears that her impurity will be exposed by her very clothing. “Suppose this robe should betray her by changing color, as her robe had betrayed Queen Guinevere” (Chapter 32).

When Tess attempts to right the situation, to end her ties to Alec and rejoin her rightful husband, the novel flips the colors that were the initial symbolic representation of the theme of purity and fallen women. Early on Tess is in a white dress with a red ribbon, and as the inversion happens, the white ceiling is covered by a red stain.

2.Q. The title of Hardy’s novel describes Tess of the D’urbervilles as “a pure woman.” Does in fact, remain pure? In what respects? Why does Hardy highlight this quality in his title? 

Or,

Q. Discuss the significance of the title of Hardy’s d’Urbervilles.

Tess of the D’urbervilles, the last but one novel of Thomas Hardy, occupies place among the author’s creative works. It shows how far the writer of Far From the Madding Crowd has travelled in his literary journey to cater to Victorian and modern readers and how more than providing just entertainment he has succeeded in holding the mirror up to human nature and British society at the end of the Victorian era. Soon after the publication of the novel in November 1891, the contemporary journal, the Star brought out a review of the novel which shows how it was received. Richard le Gallienne, observed. “Despite the painful moral, the noble, though somewhat obtrusive ‘purpose of Tess of the D’urbervilles is one of Mr. Hardy’s best novels perhaps it is his very best. The beautiful simplicity of style, the permeating healthy sweetness of his description, the idyllic charm and yet the reality of his figures, the apple-sweet woman, his old man, his love-making, his fields, his sympathetic atmosphere all these, and any other of Mr. Harry’s best qualities you can think of, are to be found “in widest commonality spread in Tess.

Tess is not just about a pure woman betrayed by man, morality, and the President of the Immortals but a complex structure of many other natural human elements. True, the theme of the novel is human suffering, an unfortunate country girl, fighting the good but lonely fight of self assertion against invincible odds but as George Wing points out , “yet in Tess, a transcendental purity of spirit, embracing all that is charitably humble and devotedly unselfish, survived long enough to enthrone humanity in a brief splendour.”

The plot of the novel is simple and to some extent not quite original. Its familiarity springs from the eternal triangle, the wronged woman who cannot escape her past, the double standard of morality for men and women for the same sins of omission and commission were themes known to Victorian masters of fiction. Hardy’s poetic power, as Jean R. Brooks holds, lies in crossing and challenging the Victorian moral tale with the ethic of folk tradition.” Not only this, he makes the novel a grim picture of Victorian countryside, the decay of agriculture, the assauh of machinery and exploitation of the poor. All these elements add up to an impressive vision of human misery not only at the hands of fate but also misdeeds of fellow human beings.

Tess of the D’urbervilles subtitled “A Pure Woman” is organized around the seven ‘phases of the heroine’s personal story to give pointers to the direction in which her impersonal life is moving. Her first phase ‘The Maiden’ begins with a picture of Durbeyfield family in the vale of Blackmoor. The sweet and innocent giri of Marlott village captures our imagination. Tess’s maidenhood ends when Alec D’urbervilles seduces her in the darkness of the night. The second phase ‘Maiden No More’ follows Tess’s return home with the consciousness of original sin on her to the birth and death of her baby Sorrow, and reintegration into country ritual. When molested she looked upon herself as a figure of Guilt intruding into the haunts of Innocence’ but when rejoined with communal life she thinks ‘The past was past. On one point she was resolved: “There should be no more d’urberville air-castles in the dreams and deeds of her new life. She would be the dairymaid, Tess and nothing more?”

As a classic in English fiction Tess has appealed to generations of readers. It has not lost its relevance even in modern times. The socio-ethical dimensions of the novel amply reveal the author’s deep sympathy for ‘the poor’ of the earth. In short. Hardy may be said to have employed his creative powers to illuminate certain areas of darkness in English life which help in the amelioration of mankind.

During the Victorian age, the life of women was confined to the household, where they were viewed as sexualand reproductive tools by the male dominating society.Men worked at the public space and women s service were limited, taking the roles of daughter, wife and mother. Women were denied the freedom to get a profession as they didn t share the intellect of men. Much moral goodness was expected from them in their domestic responsibilities and devotion to their husbands. The educational system moulded women to meet social expectations, teaching them the ways to become good wives, household management, to create a pleasing behaviour and atmosphere that would render happiness to men.

The Victorian ideal of womanhood is clearly evident in the poem “The Angel in the House” by Coventry Patmore: Man must be pleased, but him to pleasels woman s pleasure down the gulf? Of his consoled necessitiesShe casts her best, she flung herself in marriage life, a woman was exacted to view her husband as God, regarding her own body as his object of pleasure and sexual fulfilment. Motherhood was seen as the greatest virtue in a woman s life, it was a sign of emotional satisfaction. Women were considered as spiritual and moral guardians, the moral conduct and virtue of women were perceived as necessary factors which strengthened the basis of a society. It was in this context Hardy gave the subtitle “A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented” to his finest novel which gives the sympathetic representation of the heroine Tess, from her initial hopeful journey traversing to troubled upheavals, finally causing her seizure and death,

Tess was a “fallen woman” who got pregnant by premarital sex, she was the revealed this secret on her wedding night with another man and above all, she was a murderer. Then how can she be called the pure woman? This was the question which aroused in the mind of every Victorian reader.The description was also against the moral values upheld by Christian religion which equated purity and virtue with virginity. Hardy , the creator deliberately assigned this title to startle his Victorian audience by making a distinguishing, unique, magnificent character through Tess by calling her the „pure woman . He gave his view on describing his heroine in an interview with Raymond Blathwayt: I still maintain that her innate purity remained intact to the very last; though I frankly own that a certain outward purity left her on her last fall. I regarded her as being in the hands of outward circumstances, not morally responsible, a mere corpse drifting with the current to her end.

 

3. Q. Why does Hardy divide his novel in “Phases”? What apparent transformations separate each phase from the last? How does this term encourage us to think about Tess, and what does it say about what Hardy meant to accomplish in his novel and about his view of human development?

Or,

Q. Why can’t we say that Hardy’s novel is structurally based on oppositions/dualist patterns? Which classical oppositions can you discern in the suggests the real novel ?

Thomas Hardy’s Wessex is a fictional region of England that strongly landscapes of the southern and southwestern parts of the country. Keeping some real place names but changing others, he established boundaries that stretch along the coast north to Oxford (which he calls Christminster) and from Windsor (which he calls Castle Royal) to Taunton (which he calls Stoneborough) in the west. Marnhull is the real-world location of Marlott, and the Isle of Wight (the British island in the English Channel) was renamed as “The Island”; Slepe Heath is believed to be the source of Egdon Heath in Hardy’s 1878 novel The Return of the Native. Hardy did not mind if readers matched up real and imaginary places but cautioned them that his landscape was fictitious and he would not guarantee the “details” to be correct. He used this setting in his best-known novels, including Tess of the dUrbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge, The , and Far from the Madding Crowd.

Return of the Native

Usually, we can look at the setting of the novel as a small portion of a work. With Tess, however, nature is a close second only to the main characters. Therefore, the reader is obligated to examine Hardy’s use of setting and environment in Tess. Tess of the d Urbervilles takes place in Wessex, a region encompassing the southern English county of Dorset and neighboring counties Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Devon. The setting consists of more than the location, however, particularly in this novel. Nature, as a part of the setting, is an essential element in understanding the novel. In addition, the countryside and the folk who inhabit the area provide more than a mere backdrop upon which Hardy tells his tale. They are, in fact, unnamed characters in the novel.

 Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the characters and setting mirror each other. Tess moves from a world that begins in the beautiful regions around Marlott. She goes to The Slopes to “claim kin” and the environment is lovely and formal , but also contrived (consider the new house where she expected to find an old one). The setting at Talbothays, where Tess experiences her greatest happiness, is lush, green, and fertile. Flintcomb-Ash, on the other hand, is a barren region, reflecting the harshness of the work and the desolation of Tess’ life. The story ends in the equally mysterious Stonehenge region.

with his Wessex novels (Tess, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Far From the Madding Crowd, and Jude the Obscure), Hardy documented a way of life, a pattern of speech, and a pattern of thought that serves as a historical account of life in southern England at the end of the 1800s. As Simon Gatrell notes in Kramer’s The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy, “He had begun to understand that he was the historian of a Wessex now passed, the recorder of a series of unique micro-environments , ways of life and speech, which together had formed a cultural whole.” This element makes Hardy’s notation about Wessex life timeless. Also, we see a type of existence that dated back several hundred years, possibly back to ancient times. Thus, Tess, even though it is set within a specific timeframe, has an ethereal quality that seems to transcend time.

The two main farms, Talbothays and Flintcomb-Ash, represent the best and worst of farm life. The farm is the only world that Tess knows. She never travels more than 50 miles from her place of birth. The whole of the work is rurally set, and with the level of detail, we can see Hardy’s intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a nineteenth-century farm.

Little evidence of machinery invades the novel and the main form of transportation is either the horse or the horse cart. Draft animals are necessary for survival and prosperity; we see evidence of Prince’s death and the effect his passing has on the Durbeyfields. A new horse is very important to the existence of the family. The entire series of chapters that follow Prince’s death, with Tess going to The Slopes, is based on the economic need for a horse. Only twice did we see “modern” machines in the novel, the train delivering the Talbothays milk to London and the threshing machine used at Flintcomb-Ash. Otherwise, modern farming equipment is not a key component of farming techniques practiced in Wessex.

We see evidence of this in Chapter 47; “the engine which was to act as the primum mobile of this world” and “it was the engine-man.” Thus, the machine is an omnipotent presence, demanding to be tended to at all times. The workers have lost their identity and their ability to communicate when the machine is working at full tilt.  However, the this machine, which seems difficult to control, with the pastoral workings of the dairy at Talbothays. This is not to say that the dairy is without modern machinery; it has modern butter churns , powered by hand and horsepower , but nothing like the steam threshing machine.

A further comparison is the setting of the two farms. Talbothays is portrayed as a beautiful place, in a rich agricultural region of southern England – “the valley in which milk and butter grew to rankness, and were produced more profusely, if less delicately , than at her home the verdant plain so well watered by the river Var or Froom.” We cannot help but be charmed by the life of the dairy, with milking, churning butter, and making cheeses. Furthermore, only positive things happen to Tess while she is there. Flintcomb-Ash, on the other hand, with part of the name being “ash,” is mired in mud, rocks, poor conditions, and near starvation. Marian, formerly of Talbothays, has come to Flintcomb for work and calls the new farm “a starve-acre place. Corn and swedes (rutabagas] are all they grow.” Alec reappears at the farm to begin his renewed “courtship” of Tess. Farmer Groby’s treatment of his hired hands is not as sympathetic as Dairyman Crick’s as he tells Tess, “But we’ll see which is master here.”

Taken as a whole, the villages of Marlott, Emminster, and Trantridge are small towns easily managed by visitors and townsfolk alike. The vast countryside of the novel, the rich farmland or the poorer farm areas, outline an important part of nineteenth-century English agriculture, one where the newly founded Industrial Revolution has yet to take hold. It is upon this framework that Hardy writes one of his best novels.

4. Q. Briefly state the plotine development of the Tess of the d’Urbervilles,.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles, like the other major works by Thomas Hardy, although technically a nineteenth century work, anticipates the twentieth century in regard to the nature and treatment of its subject matter. Tess of the d’Urbervilles was the twelfth novel published by Thomas Hardy. He began the novel in 1889 and it was originally serialized in the Graphic after being rejected by several other periodicals from July to December in was finally published as a novel in December of 1891.

 It The novel questions society’s sexual mores by compassionately portraying who is seduced by the son of her employer and who thus is not considered a pure and chaste woman by the rest of society. Upon its publication, Tess of the d’Urbervilles encountered brutally hostile reviews; although it is now considered a major work of fiction, the poor reception of Tess and Jude the Obscure precipitated Thomas Hardy’s transition from writing fiction to poetry. Nevertheless, the novel was commercially successful and Hardy’s financial security. subjects for Hardy, assured Tess of the d’Urbervilles deals with several significant contemporary including the struggles of religious belief that occurred during Hardy’s lifetime. Hardy was largely influenced by the Oxford movement, a spiritual movement involving extremely devout thinking and actions. Hardy’s family members were primarily orthodox Christians and Hardy himself considered entering the clergy, as did many of his relatives. Yet Hardy eventually abandoned his devout faith in God based on the scientific advances of his contemporaries, including most prominently Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Hardy’s experiences can thus be seen in the character of Angel Clare, who resists own religious the conservative religious beliefs of his parents to take a more religious and secular view of philosophy.

The novel also reflects Hardy’s preoccupation with social class that continues through his novels. Hardy had connections to both the working and the upper class, but felt that he belonged to neither. This is reflected in the pessimism contained in Tess of the d’Urbervilles toward the chances for Tess to ascend in society and Angel’s precarious position as neither a member of the upper class nor a working person equivalent to his fellow milkers at Talbothays. Again, like Angel Clare, Thomas Hardy found himself torn between different social spheres with which he could not fully align himself, Tess of the d’Urbervilles reflects that divide.

Originally published in serialized form in 1891, and then as a complete novel in 1892, Tess of the d’Urbervilles is widely considered to be one of the great nineteenth century novels. Through the tale of young woman used and abused by a man of higher social status, it explores Victorian Britain’s perceptions of class, gender, and sexuality, as well as examining broader themes such as the injustice and unfairness of life. The novel begins with an impoverished peasant named John Durbeyfield learning that he may be related to the rich and noble d’Urberville family, a revelation that sets off a string of tragic events.

Meanwhile, John’s eldest daughter Tess attends the May Dance where she catches the eye of a young man named Angel Clare, son of Reverend James Clare. She wishes to dance with him but Angel is running late and does not have time. Later, when her father is too drunk to drive their cart to market, Tess takes the reins but falls asleep, causing an accident in which their horse is killed. Deprived of their livelihood, Tess’s parents tell her to visit Mrs. d’Urberville, a rich widow, and present herself as a distant family member in need of support. Here the reader learns that Mrs. d’Urberville’s deceased husband simply adopted the name and was not actually a member of the noble old family, but Tess in unaware of this and, feeling guilty about the horse, she reluctantly agrees to visit the widow and request assistance.

When Tess visits the d’Urberville mansion, she meets Mrs. d’Urberville’s lecherous, libertine son Alec, who gets her a position on the estate looking after poultry. Alec is consistently predatory but one night, after Tess has been threatened by one of the man’s ex-lovers, she naively accepts his offer of rescue. However, Alec does not take her to safety as promised but to a deserted grove where it is implied that he rapes her. Later, traumatized, ashamed, and pregnant with Alec’s child, Tess flees back to her parents, where she largely remains in her room in a state of humiliated shock. When the child is born, it is weak and ill and only lives for a few short weeks. On the night before the boy dies, Tess christens him “Sorrow,” performing the ceremony herself because her father will not let a priest come and see their shame. Despite this baptism, Tess is still only able to bury the child in the rundown part of the graveyard reserved for unbaptized babies, in a poor grave marked only by a homemade cross and flowers in a marmalade jar.

A couple of years later, Tess takes a job as a milkmaid. Because the dairy is some distance from her village, her history not known and she is no longer the subject of gossip. Away from the scandal of her past, she is happy and content, making friends with the other milkmaids and once again meeting Angel Clare who is visiting to learn how to run a dairy. Gradually, Tess and Angel fall in love but when Angel proposes, Tess must decide whether to reveal her past and risk Angel withdrawing his proposal when he learns she is not a virgin, or keeping it a secret. After an attempt to tell him the truth goes awry, she decides to keep it to herself. However, on their wedding night, emboldened by Angel confessing to an old affair , Tess reveals everything, with disastrous results. Although Angel adenowledges that Alec was responsible and Tess herself had been wronged, he nevertheless sees her as flawed and damaged, and blames her for not adequately resisting Alec’s assault Telling Tess that he will learn to forgive her past eventually , he then travels to Brazil to start a farm, promising to collect Tess later when he is ready for her.

Tess finds unpleasant, arduous work on an unproductive farm but still struggles to make enough to support herself or her parents. She goes to ask Angel’s family for help but overhears his brothers talking about Angel’s terrible marriage and so leaves without speaking to them. As she travels home, she is surprised to discover that Alec d’Urberville is now a traveling priest, having been converted to Methodism by Angel’s father, Reverend Clare. However, the man’s new-found faith does not last long and he soon starts stalking Tess and begging her to marry him. When Tess’s father dies unexpectedly and the family are evicted from their cottage, Alec offers to support them but Tess refuses and the family find themselves near destitute.

In Brazil, Angel has suffered his own hardships, becoming seriously ill for a time and falling with his new farm. He now realizes that he was wrong to reject Tess but, on returning to England, he discovers that she has married Alec, having reluctantly succumbed to the man’s manipulative advances. When Angel leaves, Tess is devastated, heartbroken, and furious. In her fury, she stabs Alec to death, and runs away with Angel, who is happy to assist her but does not believe she truly killed Alec. It is not until the police surrour them at Stonehenge several days later that he truly accepts that she killed the man. The night before she was captured, Tess said that she hoped Angel would marry her sister, Liza-Lu, after she dies, and the final moments of the novel show Angel and Liza-Lu walking off hand in hand, having just seen a black flag raised above the prison announcing that Tess has been executed.

At the time it was written, Tess of the d’Urbervilles was highly controversial because its sexual themes were at odds with Victorian social mores. The original serialized publication was censored and some critics even suggest that the ambiguity surrounding Alec raping Tess is the result of pressure from Hardy’s publishers. Reevaluated over the years, the novel is now widely considered to be among Hardy’s greatest works and, in fact, is often celebrated for the bold manner in which it addresses gender and sexuality.

 

5 . Q. Discuss the irony presented by Hardy in his novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Tess Durbeyfield and her family are commoners descended from nobility. and his mother are wealthy landowners who, though perceived as nobility, are really members of the bourgeois class. It seems that Hardy intends this situational irony as a rebuke of society’s excessive emphasis on lineage and material possessions-or, in short, name recognition and appearances. True nobility, he says, lies in the heart, not in a genealogical table or a wallet. It is also ironic that Tess, a young woman of modest intuitively knows more about what really matters in life than either Angel Clare education, or Alec d’Urberville, both exhibiting a knowledge of literature, art, philosophy, and religion but lacking in the knowledge to make the right moral decisions,

Dramatic Irony

Hardy uses dramatic irony to create suspense or to reveal a truth, a situation, an attitude, or a trait of which at least one character is unaware. In the climax of the story, for example, dramatic irony reveals a bias in Angel of which he is ignorant. The moment occurs when he has a change of heart after Tess tells him about her past. Previously, he had declared himself more tolerant and less judgmental than his brothers, as well as Victorian society in general. But this moment reveals him as just as biased as his brothers in regard to what they deem acceptable or unacceptable conduct for a woman. However, he is blind to this shortcoming; to him, it is Tess who is blameworthy. The narrator stresses his self-blindness later, when Angel visits his parents. At supper, they have a Bible reading from Chapter 31 of the Book of Proverbs, Verses 10-31, in which King Lemuel reports a vision of his mother. In it, his mother instructs him in the ways and qualities of a of a wise and virtuous wife. 

With all his attempted independence of judgement this advanced and well-meaning young man, a sample product of the last five-and-twenty years, was yet the slave to custom and conventionality when surprised back into his early teachings. No prophet had told him, and he was not prophet enough to tell himself, that essentially this young wife of his was as deserving of the praise of King Lemuel as any other woman endowed with the same dislike of evil, her moral value having to be reckoned not by achievement but by tendency.

Another example of dramatic irony occurs when Angel’s mother decides to accept Tess as a suitable wife for him at the very time when he and Tess are separating, a development of which Mrs. Clare is unaware. She says, “There are worse wives than these simple, rosymouthed, robust girls of the farm. Certainly I could have wished-well, since my son is to be an agriculturist, it is perhaps but proper that his wife should have been accustomed to an outdoor life.”

One of Hardy’s main themes in Tess is that heredity, environment, and pure chance shape the lives of people. They have little or no free will. Ironically, however, Hardy rebukes Victorian society for its moral and social attitudes. In other words, Hardy is condemning society for actions over which (he theorizes) it has no control.

6. Q. What significant symbols and motifs have been used by Hardy in his novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles? Discuss illustratively.

Hair

Hair was a symbol of the so-called fallen women in the Victorian era. When Tess exchanges words with Car, separating her from the group and into Alec’s clutches the night of the rape, the argument starts with someone mistaking the treacle pouring down Car’s clothing: “Tis her hair falling down.” Car’s morals are questionable as one of Alec d’Urberville’s favorites.

 

Tess Durbeyfield is a child of poverty, inept parents, and minimal education, although she is intelligent and would have continued at school had circumstances allowed. At 16 she is inexperienced in the ways of men, especially those with money and power. She is highly principled, honest, and nonjudgmental. Hardy represents her as a kind of natural Eve figure: genuine, in touch with the countryside and wilderness, and physically voluptuous. Tess is a victim of fate and of two men in her life. She is raped by Alec d’Urberville and has a son who dies soon after birth. Although she wants nothing to do with Alec, he returns to her life and pursues her until necessity forces her to relent. Tess is also the victim of Angel Clare whose cruelty is as crushing as but different from Alec’s. Angel flees, leaving Tess alone and vulnerable. Tess’s love for Angel reflects deep and abiding passion accompanied by a destructive sense of pride.

Tess Durbeyfield

Tess is one of Hardy’s most sympathetic protagonists. She is as likeable as a literary character found in all of English literature. Readers come to understand her plight and her acceptance of the seemingly inevitable things that happen to her. Not once during the novel does Tess exhibit any traits that take away from Hardy’s portrayal of her as a good person. As a result, by the end of the novel, we wish for a happy ending for Tess and Angel, but we know that not all stories end on a positive note. 

Although overly happy endings were typical of some of Hardy’s contemporaries as the Brontë sisters and Jane Austin, with Tess, Hardy attempted to infuse into the more earthy characters and a story that belies the notion of a happy ending.

That is, she does not win major battles or influence political decisions; instead, she inhabits her own small world and tries to cope with the fate that life has dealt her. By the end of the novel, she is a complete, whole character, but the scale of her influence in her own world, Wessex, is small indeed. Nonetheless, Tess has heroic qualities that make her worthy of our admiration. These qualities are most evident in the following scenes: when she baptizes her infant son, Sorrow; when she endures the tortures of Alec’s violation and Angel’s abandonment; and when she finally and irrevocably rids herself of Alec’s influence. Thus, Tess is a heroine, but on an everyday, ordinary scale. had

Tess is a simple country girl/woman who had a basic education growing up, but little exposure to the wiles of the world outside Marlott. She has curiosity that goes beyond her basic education, as demonstrated when she debates religious and moral issues with both Angel and Alec. Her weakness is her innocence; she is unschooled “in the ways of the world” and therefore unable to protect herself. Tess chides her mother for not telling her the full truth about a less-than-kind world: “Why didn’t you tell me there was danger in men-folk?” describes her simple

Throughout the novel, Hardy develops Tess as a character and beauty. She is attractive to all men, and even her attempts to change her appearance are not enough to hide her natural beauty. Further in the story, Tess is depicted as a person of near divine qualities when she baptizes Sorrow before he dies. Hardy calls the effect on her siblings as a “transfiguring effect” and that she looked “with a touch of dignity which was almost regal.” Tess’ beauty is balanced by her earthy elegance, and this is especially evident when she is being courted by Angel at Talbothays:

Minute diamonds of moisture from the mist hung, too, upon Tess’ eyelashes, and drops upon her hair, like seed pearls. When the day grew quite strong and commonplace these dried off her; moreover, Tess then lost her strange and ethereal beauty; her teeth, lips, and eyes scintillated in the sunbeams and she was again the dazzlingly fair dairymaid only, who had to hold her own against the other women of the world.

However, behind that beauty Hardy paints a picture of a tortured mind. Tess could not be described as an exuberant person, she seems to border between marginal happiness to deep depression. And her personality is hidden, like an enigma, even from those close to her. Joan, her mother, says in response to a question Angel asks,”… I have never really known her.” Early in the novel, we see that this statement is foreshadowed when John remarks about Tess, “Tess is queer.”

– Fate plays a predominant role in what happens to Tess. The acknowledgement of the role of fate is summed up by the locals in the small town as “It was to be.” Even Tess realizes that she and her family are in a tough spot when Prince, the family horse, is killed and she must go to the Stoke-d’Urbervilles for financial recovery. Joan, Tess’ mother, realizing that her daughter has suffered several devastating blows by Alec says, “Well, we must make the best of it, I suppose.” Tess is resigned to accept Alec’s proposal near the end of the novel when she tells Angel, “I don’t care what he [Alec) did wi’ me!’ Her own safety and happiness are of no consequence to her. Even when she must atone for murdering Alec, she accepts the inevitable as she is arrested for Alec’s death – “It is as it should be.” That is, she knows her attempt to avoid prosecution and ultimate death are futile, and she must accept her fate. She does so willingly.

Tess is able to bear great burdens placed upon her at a young age. She is between the ages of 16 and 23 when we read her tale. This ability to undergo so much at such a young age builds her character so that we see her as a powerful force in the novel. She accepts blame for Prince’s death; the death of her infant son, Sorrow; the loss of Angel and the destruction of her marriage; as well as her killing Alec with her own hands and leaving home three times in her life to “test the waters of the world” outside her village.

She is unselfish in her actions towards others, as when she suggests to the other milkmaids at Talbothays and Angel, that Izz, Retty, and Marian are all more acceptable for marriage to Angel than she is. The other milkmaids at Talbothays cannot harbor any ill feelings toward Tess, as she is the one bound to marry Angel. Thus, she becomes a character with no discernable negative qualities.

Also, Tess is passionate in her love for Angel and her hatred of Alec. She strays from her marriage only when it appears that Angel may not return to her from South America and when there is no other way to help her destitute family. When she discovers Alec’s duplicity, she makes her mind up that this will be his final deception of her.

The martyr-like passion of Tess engenders the readers’ sympathy. She made several attempts to rectify her “mistakes”: the vow to Angel to end their marriage; her offer to kill herself to free Angel from their marriage; and, her refusal to ask Angel’s parents for any additional money during Angel’s sojourn to Brazil. She is determined to be selfsufficient and willing to sacrifice her well being for the good of others. This makes her selfless and on a morally higher ground than other characters in the novel. Tess’ greatest weakness is for her family, particularly her brothers and sisters, and it is this weakness that Alec exploits to great effect. Her journey to The Slopes, at the beginning of the novel, and her subsequent return to Alec near the novel’s end, are all predicated on her willingness to undergo great pains to make her family’s life better. Alec promises financial aid to the Durbeyfield family several times, to which Tess cannot object. He has ulterior motives, however: to subdue Tess and make her his own. In the end, Alec fails. Thus, Hardy paints a grand portrait of a well-rounded character in Teresa Durbeyfield.

Angel Clare

Angel Clare has strong opinions on religion, class, and morality. Part of to Tess is her authenticity and purity as a “simple” country girl. Angel rejects a number of religious beliefs his father and brothers endorse, and his father has thus denied him a university education. Despite disapproval of his family’s rigidity and snobbishness, Angel is as rigid as they are, although he would not see himself as such. When he learns about Tess’s past, Angel is unyielding and harsh because his vision of her is altered: he cannot accept a “Fallen woman” despite her innocence in the event and proof of the purity of her character. His rejection and abandonment of her diminish his character. Although he eventually sees his actions as extreme and realizes that Tess deserves better, he is too late to make amends for having ruined Tess’s life.

 

Angel Clare is the youngest son of the Reverend and Mrs. Clare. He goes against the family had intended for him, a career in the ministry, like his father and brothers. Instead, Angel pursues a career that seems opposite of what his family would like for him – farming. His education comes from his schooling and from his personal experiences. He seems more in tune to the true nature of religion, but in a more practical sense, unlike his university-educated brothers. Farming puts Angel on a level with the common folk who inhabit the rural English countryside. He even rejects the popular notion of farm folk as “Hodge,” or – as Hardy describes it — “the pitiable dummy” portrayed in the newspapers. Angel arrives at Talbothays to educate himself in the workings of a farm and falls for an unpretentious dairymaid, Tess.

Angel enters the novel at the very beginning, as the nameless young man who dances with the girls of Marlott and then disappears, nameless to the girls and readers. He Talbothays, when he is 26 and Tess is 20.

 He begins his relationship with Tess by offering to tutor her in history or any subject of her choosing, to make up for her lack of higher education. She gently refuses, but he cannot help but fall in love with a gentle girl. His gentlemanly ways also come to the fore when he offers to carry all four dairymaids over a swollen creek when the girls are on their way to church. It is a perfect excuse for all of the girls – Izz, Retty, Marian, and Tess – to get closer to their desire, Angel Clare himself. He is sincere in his search for a good, hard working woman who will be a help to him on his own farm. His choice of Tess seems an obvious one to him. However, his family has chosen Mercy Chant, a fine lady and woman, to be his bride. He is disappointed in their choice because he has no need for a frilly lady on a farm; instead, he must have a wife willing to work the same jobs and hours as himself. Angel chooses Tess without ever having his family his views – meet her.

Tess hears of Angel detests old families and makes his views known to others. and thinks that her future with Angel may be cut short if he learns of her ancient lineage. When he does learn of her family history, he does not make a big issue of her heritage.

He seems likely to have more of an issue with his own views of love and marriage. Angel adheres to Tess’ wishes when she asks him to leave her . He observes her from a distance, not making any overtures that could be misleading. He waits several chapters to prodaim his love for Tess and waits for her response. He finally convinces her of his intentions to marry her, but his views of love and marriage seem to have very little flexibility: “Yet Clare’s love was doubtless ethereal to a fault, imaginative to impracticability.” His weakness is his impractical, idealistic love of Tess. He later regrets his rashness and quick decisions and strives to make up to Tess.

Like Tess, Angel has a past, when he was nearly lead into a relationship with a woman in London. When Tess relates her own tale, he seems to have forgotten his own lurid tale and denies Tess the forgiveness that she so willingly grants him, thus indicating a flaw in Angel’s character: his intractability. This flaw sets up the reason for Angel to reject Tess as a wife and begins his excursion to Brazil.

Angel’s life is characterized by quick decisions that are not well thought out. He seems reasonable but makes decisions based on impulse, not rational thinking: his quick proclamation of love for Tess, his intent to go to Brazil, and his asking Izz to accompany him to South America. He sees the errors of his ways and regrets his past declarations: “Viewing her (Tess) in these lights, a regret for his hasty judgment began to oppress him.” He seems to have thought out the association with Tess, and the loss of a future life with Mercy Chant. He later asks Tess for forgiveness “Tess! Can you forgive me for going away?” But he exhibits the kind of decisions that ordinary people make in everyday situations. He promises to take care of Tess after she kills Alec and to make Liza-Lu as his wife after Tess is gone, and he lives up to that promise. Thus, Angel is a character likeable to most readers.

Angel is Hardy’s voice of agnosticism and the views of religious “freethinkers,” those who reject “the tenets and traditions of formal religion as incompatible with reason.” The movement looks to associate with religion but without its formal ties to a church per se. Angel could be construed as a deist; that is, he sees God as a creative, living force, but he rejects formal religion. We see this when Hardy writes, “Angel preferred sermons in stones to sermons in churches and chapels on fine summer days.” He chose Tess for her ability to be a good wife for a farmer, not for her religious views. Says Hardy, “Angel never would have made orthodoxy a condition of his choice.” When describing Tess to his parents, Angel makes a point to tell his parents that Tess is a good Christian woman:

Angel waxed quite earnest on that rather automatic orthodoxy in his beloved Tess which he had been prone to slight when observing it practised by her and the other milkmaids, because of its obvious unreality amid beliefs essentially naturalistic.

Angel has cleared the last obstacle with his parents and returns to Talbothays to convince Tess to marry him. Thus, Angel represents the practical, no-nonsense facet of religion that Hardy himself would have championed.

Sexually aggressive and entitled, he pursues Tess, who has no interest in him. When he cannot have what he wants from her-as he easily seems able to obtain from other women-he rapes her. Not proud of his behavior, he later offers to marry Tess, but she refuses. Several years later Alec claims to have changed his ways and has become a preacher. However, he gives up his faith to pursue Tess, which he does relentlessly. His stat feelings for Tess are never dear, but he does support her family and provide her with material comfort. Whether he is repentant, evil, or merely arrogant and spoiled is also datatable. What is dear, though, is his generosity comes at a price-possession of Tess.

In reality . Ale is not a curberville at all ; instead, his family was named Stoke, then Stoke-ov terville, and later just a Urberville. His father had made a fortune in north England and had setties in the southen region of the island. He adopted a local name to blend on with the historical association of place.

Alec s trendy at first, using his charms to lure Tess back to The Slopes for a second vest. When she returns to become the keeper of Mrs. d’Urberville’s poultry collection, Alec uses scare tactics to force Tess to plead to him for relief. The wild ride to Trantridge in the cart is indicative that he will use any means to convince her of his power.

The scene of Tess’ first vist, with Alec feeding Tess strawberries (Chapter 5) is very sensual and suggestive. A scene like this would have caused more than a few Victorian svesrous to be raised Hardy made a point to include such a scene early in the novel to pique the reader’s response to the novel. Sex was not a usual subject for a book, and Mardy delivers in his first section lust, sex, and seduction.

Tess is no match for Alec. Whereas she is naive and inexperienced, he is worldly and sophisticated. While she is burdened with the responsibility of providing for her family, he feels an obligation to no one but himself. Alec wears the young girl down to take advantage of her, but she continues to rebuff his advances at every opportunity. It is not until he rescuss her from a fight, in Chapter 10, with other Trantridge workers that her fate is sealed. Sensing a chance to have Tess, Alec purposefully becomes lost in a trek through the woods. He rapes Tess while she sleeps awaiting his return.

Alec does not appear in Chapters 12-43. Nevertheless, we cannot say that he doesn’t impact the story during these chapters. First, his earlier actions (specifically the rape) impact everything that follows. But his impact is not simply confined to the readers’ understanding of the part he has played in Tess’ current situation. Hardy brings Alec back to the story through Reverend Clare, who shares with his son (who later shares with Tess) Alec’s conversion and ministry.

Alec is a “sunshine convert,” renouncing his newfound faith as soon again. Using twisted logic, Alec accuses Tess of causing him to stray from his ministry, “But you have been the means – the innocent means – – of my backsliding, as they call it.” He soon cannot suppress his passion for Tess, calling her a “temptress.” Hardy notes that “The corpses of those old fitful passions which had lain inanimate amid the lines of his face ever since his reformation seemed to wake and come together as in a resurrection.” Tess feels some guilt for Alec’s plight, and he uses the situation to his advantage again, making her swear to leave him alone at a place called “Cross-in-Hand,” the scene not of religious conversion, but of conversion to the ways of the dark side, with Satan. Cross-in-Hand is a symbol of evil, not good, “@Tis a thing of ill-omen,” Tess is warned.

 

Alec further lures the unsuspecting Tess by talking her out of remaining true to her marriage to Angel. He will not accept her rejection of him. He is relentless, and in Chapter 2. he is able to finally sway Tess by catering to her poor family. Alec takes full advantage of Tess at this point, and he convinces her to live with him as a dUrberville. Thus, Alec nas persuaded Tess to live a life of sin. This deception results in his death when Tess, enraged, stabs him.

Some flaws of the Characters in the novel : –

Tess was a pure, beautiful and industrious rural girl who yeamed for the true kindness of ife, but was always attacked by false and evil. Tess was a brand-new woman model of hardy. She has a dual personality. On the one hand, she dared to resist the traditional morality and the false religion; On the other hand, she couldn’t get rid of the shackles of taditional morality. In particular, the latter is directly related to her tragic fate.

Though Tess dared to resist the traditional morality and bravely to pursue her happiness, she was an uncompromising resistance. But Tess didn’t completely get rid of the shackles of traditional morality. Although she understood that she was the victim of violence, under the villagers’ criticism, she also believed that she was “guilty”. As a result, it made her torture and condemnation.

When her family’s horse died, her parents asked her to climb noble family. Her instinct was simple and she did not agree to go, but she took a guilty feeling and strong sense of responsibility. She had to do this. “Her pale face, without expression, seems to think that her own murder”, wrote in the book. This is the turning of her life and casting a layer of indelible shadow over her later life.

Tess knew that Alec was bad for her, but to accept his help. His parents threatened her to go to Alec’s home, she could have refused but couldn’t. Out of sympathy and responsibility for her family and for the living, she agreed to live with Alec. When she felt her love for Claire was imperfect, she asked Claire to marry her sister as a wife. She constantly struggled, and then compromised. And struggled. And compromised. And struggled. And compromised. Her feelings were complex.

This personality was expressed in the relationship between her and Claire. Lovers should be equal in rights, however, Tess always belittled herself and raised Claire. Her mise, able past didn’t get Claire’s tolerance. In the face of Claire’s abandon, she didn’t make the slightest resistance. A series of enthusiastic letters didn’t call back Claire’s heart. In front of love, Tess lost her dignity. It is this kind of blind and unequal love that made Tess lose the right to strive for happiness. Instead, it deepened the tragedyof Tess.

At first, the lack of self consciousness was reflected in Tess’s attitude towards love. For the first time she saw Claire, she was attracted by his knowledge and handsome expression. In Hardy’s eyes, Tess was portrayed as a perfect woman, but her characters also contained some weaknesses. She always wandered between Claire and Alec.

She often considered about other people’s needs, but ignored her own requirements. She had to sacrifice herself for her family. She didn’t have her suffering, and finally led to the tragedy of her life.

When she discovered Alec’s fraud, she was not determined to leave. These details gave Alec an opportunity and let her into the bad luck. On the contrary, if she noticed Alec’s behaviors, and kept an eye on him. She was not bound to lose her reputation and lost her lover. That is to say, the tragedy will not occur.

Tess was beautiful but self-abased, she was kind but simple-minded. Her inferiority exaggerated her pain. Who would never conscientiously allow any man to marry her now, and who had religiously determined that she would never be tempted to do so, draw Claire’s attention from other women. When she wanted to tell Claire the whole story happened on her, her feeling was complex. On the one hand, she wanted to release herself . On the other hand, she thought that this was her own fault . She was afraid that Claire did not forgive her and looked down upon her. But when Claire told something bad for her, her inferiority disappeared. She thought this was equal between them. So she was determined to tell the truth. However, Alec left her. She often made a judgment from the traditional customs and distorted her normal psychological state. Tess was subject to its morality when she against the traditional bravely. Sometimes, she would fight with traditional moral, at the same time, she would become its defenders. Tess made a big net around herself and tied up. She wanted to escape but couldn’t.

This sense of self-restraint had its profound historical basis, and was the manifestation of the whole society. Therefore, Tess’s ending can only be tragic. This is the image of purity in the heart of Hardy. Tess as a typical character with such outstanding, prominent. But because of the sense of responsibility. Although she began to realize the intentions of Alec’s plot, she was too naive. “I have forgiven you for the same!” That is to say, it is her simple mind that cause her to death. 

Alec was a son of a wealthy businessman, used his father’s money and power countryside to show off. The first time he saw Tess, his dissolute face was completely unmasked lewd. “What a funny thing! And what a crumby girl!” He set a trap to defile Tess and destroyed Tess about her lifetime of happiness. Though he later repented himself with the help of a pastor and intended to go to Africa to preach, but his abuse did not eradicate. refused him.

When he met Tess again, regeneration of evil appeared, but Tess didn’t destroy him instead Alec entangled her all the time. In the end, Tess was forced to . Tess became the biggest victim in Alec’s indulge life.

So he looked forward to simple, natural clean countryside life. Claire didn’t want to marry rich women as his wife. When he saw Tess who was so industrious, his heart was beating. However, his love rather ideally and fancifully than with the impassioned thoroughness of her feeling for him. He could love desperately, but with a love more especially inclined to the imaginative and ethereal. So when Tess honestly confessed to him her own past insults, then the Claire’s idol would be collapsed. Claire did not show the slightest sympathy, he even “can’t tolerant Tess”. He turned a blind eye to the Tess and her kindness. He abandoned her, leaving Tess in grief despair, and extinguished the hope of love in his heart. loved her very much.

 Claire gave Tess a misunderstanding that made Tess think he his behaviors gave Tess hope, his words moistened her heart. All that he did was for Tess. Would not a farmer wants a wife, and should a farmer’s wife be a himself, not for drawing-room wax-figure, or a woman who understood farming? He got the correct answer. His selfish and hypocrisy are also reasons of Tess’s tragedies.

8. Q. When describing Tess’s “moral hobgoblins” in Chapter XIII, Hardy writes, “It was that they were out of harmony with the actual world, not she.” How do you respond to Hardy’s suggestion that civilized society is a moral failure because it is out of tune with the “actual,” or natural world? What, as Hardy sees it, is the essential conflict between society and nature? What would a “natural” morality look like, and would it be an improvement?

Or,

Q. Is Tess of the D’Urbervilles more accurately seen as a protest against unjust moral and social tenets, or an acknowledgment that such structures will always exist?

The nineteenth-century Britain was the greatest economic power of the world, it was an extraordinarily complex age, which has sometimes been called the Second English Renaissance. “It is, however, also the beginning of Modern Times” (Miller). The period between 1837 and 1901 is known as the “Victorian age”, named so after the Queen Victoria. There were two historical elements which affected the English society of the nineteenth-century: colonization and industrialization. Both of these brought great increase in wealth, making Britain the leading economic power of its time. It was a time of prosperity, imperial expansion, and great political reform. During that time, the factory system gradually replaced the system of people working in their own homes or in small workshops. This caused great shifts in social structure, making owners of industries and trades people more powerful.

The industrial revolution created a great demand for female and child labour, who were often made to work twelve hours a day or even longer. Some writers and intellectuals of that period protested against it. The reforms did not change the reality of the working classes, although they did gain some rights. In the nineteenth-century, there was a great shift of population from rural to urban areas. People seeking better living conditions for their families left everything and populated big cities in search of work. They lived in a very bad condition with long working hours. Therefore, drinking and abuse were frequent in family lives, since people thought that life had very little to offer them.

As a classic in English fiction Tess has appealed to generations of readers. It has not lost its relevance even in modern times. The socio-ethical dimensions of the novel amply reveal the author’s deep sympathy for ‘the poor’ of the earth. In short. Hardy may be said to have employed his creative powers to illuminate certain areas of darkness in English life which help in the amelioration of mankind.

the D’Urbervilles is grounded on a recognizable motif, that of a fallen woman. By means of this motif, Tess represents the prejudices of Victorian society. In 1892, Thomas Hardy wrote in his notebook, — The best tragedy—the highest tragedy in short-is that of the worthy encompassed by the inevitable. The tragedies of immoral and worthless people are not of the best. Thomas Hardy’s willingness to challenge contemporary views of sexual morality and marriage made many of his novels very controversial when they first appeared. The manuscript of his novel Tess went through a lot of different versions, and Tess of the controversial bits made it difficult for him to find a publisher. The publishers who rejected the novel pu it more or less bluntly, that Tess (both the character and the novel) was too sexy to be put in print. The sexiness made it immoral in their eyes. In 1890, Hardy finally found magazine willing to publish Tess of the D’Urbervilles, but only on condition that he censo some of the more controversial scenes. Later in 1891, Hardy was given the opportunity to publist Tess in book fonn version, where he defiantly added the subtitle (-A Pure Woman ), defending the purity of the heroine in spite of her rape.

As one of the most influential and well-received books in world literature, Tess of the D’Urbervilles portrays a poor innocent country girl who is victimized by the combined forces of Victorian patriarchal society and at the same time demonstrates Hardy’s profound sympathy for Tess, the protagonist of the novel. Tess’s tragic fate is closely connected with two men’s betrayal and mastery. The bourgeois hypocrisy and the male dominance incarnated in Angel and Alec cooperate in driving Tess to destruction. In the conventional world with a severe view on virginity and chastity, the sense of self-guilt and self-reproach haunts her through her life journey. After her sexual violation, the rigid society gives her no chance for regeneration. As the sacrifice of ethical prejudice, Tess is victimized by Victorian society, whose law she is driven to break and from whose moral codes she is alienated. Her deviation from the well-accepted ethical restrictions for women decides her tragic destination. Tess is clearly aware of the reality of the society she lives in and she realizes the social bias towards virginity and chastity. –Once victim, always victim: that’s the law. Hardy seriously questions, – Was once lost always lost really true of chastity?”

Tess’s miserable fate is nothing but a -sport for the President of the Immortals, a terrible game played on females by males, leading her to the murder of Alec, which is her final and fierce act of protest against male-dominated social law although it inevitably leads her to her final execution, Tess tries to get free from men’s control and find individuality but the social consensus of her times does not condemn or punish her seducer, Alec. Instead it disdains and hunts Tess, as a social outcast and religious offender, wherever she goes. Alec, the real sinner, is later converted to be a preacher instead of being criticized and punished by religious consensus. So unfair is the social law that it does not punish nor condemn the wrong-doer, but instead deprives Tess of her dignity by designating her as a fallen woman. However it is Angel’s destruction of Tess is even more unbearable than Alec’s. As a product of Victorian social culture, Angel cannot conceive of an equal relationship with Tess. His dissipation in London can be forgiven; while Tess’s innocent -misconduct cannot. Alec’s violence and Angel’s rejection both reflect the hypocrisy and narrow- minded prejudice regarding virginity and chastity. Alec physically ruins Tess by depriving her of her virginity; Angel spiritually destroys her by depriving her of her courage for life and pursuit for love. Thus Alec’s barbarism and Angel’s hypocrisy, interdependent on each other, are the two irresistible forces driving Tess to her dead end.

By giving detailed description on Angel’s unfair attitude towards women’s on his narrow-minded view on chastity, Hardy relentlessly mocks the hypocrisy of the Victorian moral standards. Angel’s personal values and viewpoints about chastity are culturally shaped. Superficially, he divorces from his family and convention; effectually he still confines himself to his culture which enslaves him at crucial times. Angel’s —double moral standard, is reflected in his attitude towards Tess the moment he is told of her past. Tess forgives his romantic dissipation with a woman in London, but Angel refuses to forgive Tess for her —disgraceful past and this is further aggravated by his cruel desertion of Tess. Such behavior clearly exemplifies the-vouble moral standard that prevails in Victorian society in relation to sexual lives and feelings of women.

Thomas Hardy’s views about society’s moral values are clearly influenced by Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. Throughout history, humans have appealed to the supernatural in desperate need for moral direction. According to Christian tradition, God is said to have revealed his wisdom and morally perfect value to human civilization, compelling them to conform to his standards of perfection. This is the way humanity ought to behave according to the will of God as revealed in holy scripture. However, for Hardy, the Darwinian model of nature remains a critical and revolutionary paradigm shift in human history, which made possible the ideas that shape the primary themes of his novel: the indifference and injustice of the natural world and the incompetence of Christian theology in attempts to provide a moral framework in such a world.

Tess of the D’urbervilles is a novel crafted to serve as a source of moral reflection from which societal values can be discovered and superstitious religious dogmatism discarded. In both novels, the protagonist, neither Tess nor Sarah tells the reader her story. We have no idea of what Tess felt during the rape or was it seduction? Hardy’s text is constrained by the problematics of consent. Ultimately, the meaning of purity hinges on the relation between seduction and rape. Hardy attempts to preserve Tess’s purity while at the same time representing Tess as a desiring or speaking subject. The figure of the seductive woman is this enormously important for any reading of Tess. Hardy repeatedly exhorts us to desire Tess, which implies that she is the archetypal sensual woman who encourages such desire. Yet he also notes that Angel (and, by extension, judgmental readers) should read Tess’ face as the true evidence of her purity.

However, we can love her only if she is a pure woman, which creates a dilemma. If God punished a whore, a tramp, is he truly unjust or cruel? Tess’ revelation places Angel in a crisis of the soul, so to speak: she presents him with a face that seems entirely virginal, and yet she has “fallen.” She is not the pure ideal that he assumed she was and desired her to be. His discovery of this dual nature of Tess’ ability to appear spiritually innocent and yet be physically deflowered, distresses him. Hardy’s ultimate point in his indictment of society is of course the supposed moral center of society: God and his laws. If God’s pronouncements of justice are flawed, as Hardy declares them to be then society’s cruelty can be reversed by rejecting those cruel laws.

9.Q. In classical tragedy, the hero is destroyed from within by a tragic flaw in his or her character. Does Tess have a tragic flaw, or is she better understood as a victim of external circumstances?

Tess of Urbervilles is regarded as Hardy’s tragic masterpiece. It is a story of a country girl who is first presented as an innocent girl but turns into a tragic heroine. From Hardy’s point of view, Tess is not responsible for what she has done. She is a victim of a series of misfortunes which slowly destroy her personality. The novel is written in seven chapters; each chapter representing a phase of Tess’s life after which Tess becomes more mature. With the life as a series of tragedies, Tess refuses to remain a victim and struggles through life.

Tess of Durbervilies is a tragic novel of a young country girl named Tess who goes through many struggles in her life but ends up “violated by one man and forsaken by another” (Heap). She is a poor country girl, Tess’s father discovers that he is the descendant of the Norman noble family of the d’Urbervilles. As they are very poor, Tess is sent to the new found relatives by her parents, hoping to marry a nobleman. Unfortunately for Tess, the new “relatives” have taken the name because it sounded good. There, she meets Alec, the man who seduces and rapes her. Tess returns to her parents’ home where she gives birth to a boy who soon died.

Tess leaves home again to work as a milkmaid on a farm where she meets Angel Clare and they fall in love with each other. Scared of losing him, Tess does not tell him about her past. However, Tess confesses about her past to her husband in their wedding night, after Angel confesses his previous affair with a woman. Angel can not bare the thought that Tess is not pure as he believes, and therefore leaves Tess for Brazil. Tess struggles through poverty but in the end accepts the help of Alec. Angel finally returns to find Tess live with Alec. Tess still loves Angel, so she murders Alec and runs away with Angel; however, the police find them at Stonehenge and Tess is hanged.

Tess of the DUrbervilles is both a tragedy of love and a tragedy of life. The process of tragedy is the process of various contradictions between the characters and the social environment. The cause of the tragedy is either the character as the dominant factor or the environment as the main guide or the result of the interaction between the two. Although Hardy interprets the heroine’s misfortune as a joke of fate, Tess’s misfortune is due to her social, economic, political environment and class status. Tess was born into a peasant family, lives in a new and old age, and is bound to be influenced by some old moral and fatalistic ideas. 

The novel belongs to Hardy’s novels called “Character and Environment”. Tess is a modern woman suffering from the old moral persecution, a new farm worker. Tess, as a figure, has a typical significance in exposing and accusing the whole system at that time. Tess came from a peasant family, and some old moral and fatalistic ideas left her with a weak side in her resistance to traditional morality. When she was persecuted public opinion and traditional morality, she regarded herself as guilty.

 

The later tragedy resulted from the deeply rooted feudal concept of lover’s virginity complex. She regarded herself as an incarnation of sin, and always felt that people all over the world are paying attention to her situation. She couldn’t forget her shame more than anyone else. It was with a net of her own morality that Tess bound herself up. In fact, her consciousness of self-binding had a profound historical basis and is a concrete expression of the whole social consciousness. Tess, as an individual in a certain historical period, inevitably formed the social consciousness and moral concept in a specific historical period, and her thoughts and actions were inevitably restricted by the times and social ideas.

Besides characters of main figures, there are other reasons that resulted in Tess’s tragedy. In Hardy’s work, it reflected the great changes about social economy, politics, morality and customs when capitalism flew in to British rural town. Under this circumstance, hypocrisy of bourgeois morality, laws and religion was revealed. This part will involve Tess’s family background and the society she lived.

Tess was born to a poor peasant family. The decline of a noble family, the family’s economic situation and irresponsible parents were destined to her tragic fate.

Her parents were full of vanity, and loved money. Her mother could not consider Tess’s feelings. From the beginning to end, Tess’s mother only thought herself. She hoped Tess would marry a rich man and brought her comfortable life. In fact, it is her mother’s vanity that led Tess into an abyss, and opened a door to Tess’s tragedy.

After the industrial revolution, the business pattern of capitalism also slowly immersed into rural areas. The widespread usage of new agricultural put individual farmers into bankruptcy. Tess and her workmates were the representatives of hired workers. They worked everywhere to make a living. They didn’t go until the fall came. They suffered torment and did the same work like men. Tess, one of the victims of this real cruel portrayal, was social unfair deprived her life.

Tess of the DUrbervilles was published, this novel was regarded as disloyalty, uncharitable, obscene. In the Victorian era, the rights between women and men are not equal. Even divorce was regarded as immoral behavior. Tess was just right the victim of this ethics. Her whole life lived in the violence and forces. The society and laws both thought it was valid that insulted Tess, so Tess couldn’t find a way to protect herself. At the same time, Tess thought that she was “guilty”. She hides her head into arms. What’s more, those people who once said that they loved Tess escaped at the critical moment. Because of hypocritical moral, male didn’t think it was illegal when they bullied women. But women would suffer more than physical pain.

In the Victorian era, male regarded female as their personal belongings, especially female’s purity. In this society, it’s impurity that a woman lost virginity. If she lost her virginity, she should be condemned. In this novel, Claire was the typical representative. He had done excessive action and he wanted to get Tess’s forgiveness. But he could not forgive innocent Tess. Though he was an open-minded man, he was constrained by traditional morality.

In the late nineteenth century, all of the national rules were served by the ruling class. And of course the legal system was no exception. When Tess was occupied by Alec, she did not get the protection of society and law. She faced the rumor alone but Alec did not get unpunished. However, Tess kills Alec with anger, the law uphold its justice and hanged Tess. Apparently, the law was unfair. It is preferred to the aristocratic society not to a tenant. As a low society, Tess was destined to face the injustice and this injustice would bring bad luck for her.

Tess is a girl of the working class with a family that hates to work, so when they learn that her father is a descendant of a noble family, the d’Urbervilles, they send

Tess to a Comrich “relative” in nearby Tantridge to get money or marry well so that her parents will be taken care of Tess goes because her parents make her feel she must although she thinks it’s wrong of them to ask for money. This meeting with Alec d’Urberville, one of the “relatives” seals her dreadful fate. He is attracted to Tess and takes advantage of her when she comes to Tantridge to work at d’Urberville manor and she returns home ruined. Alec promises to take care of her if she ever needs anything, but she dislikes him so much that she’d rather suffer than have any contact with him.

Soon Tess bears a child she names, Sorrow, and the child dies only days after it is born. Tess, without the support of her shiftless family, leaves home to try at independence again knowing now to be wary of men. She goes to Talbothays dairy and falls in love with Angel Clare, the son of a pastor who is learning about farming at the dairy. Although she thinks herself unworthy of such a sweet man because of what happened to her, Tess and Angel fall in love and decide to get married. She refused his proposals for quite a while trying to find a way to tell him about her past with Alec d’Urberville, but she couldn’t do it. It is important to her that he knows everything about her so that she knows he loves her for herself and not for who he thinks she is, so shortly before they are supposed to be married, she writes him a letter and slips it under the door of his room. He never gets the letter because it is stuck under the edge of the carpet. Tess realizes this mistake on the morning of their marriage, and she is not given an opportunity to tell him before they are married.

That night he confesses that he’s had one sexual encounter that he couldn’t bring himself to tell her about and she forgives him, knowing that he’ll forgive her what happened with Alec. But when she tells Angel about it, the way he feels about her changes completely. He feels betrayed and tricked, so they agree to separate, although Tess loves him greatly.

He goes to Brazil to try his hand at farming there, and Tess works at hard job after hard job rather than asking his family for money as he’d instructed her when he left. While she’s working herself to the bone, she encounters Alec d’Urberville again and he begins visiting her, relentlessly trying to convince her to marry him. She finally gives in when her family is evicted from their home after her father’s death and they have nowhere to go. Alec provides them a home, and Tess agrees to be his wife.

Angel then returns from Brazil and comes to find her, knowing that he has treated her unfairly. When he finds her, she is distraught that the only man she ever loved has come back, and once again, Alec d’Urberville is standing in her way. She stabs Alec with a carving knife, and she and Angel spend a week together hiding out and being as they were before they were married. Then Tess is captured and executed, and Angel marries her younger sister, Liza Lu. After she met Alec d’Urberville, there was nothing Tess could do to change fate. All that happened to her was meant to be.

To sum up, it is Tess’s compromise, ignorance, inferiority, Alec’s evilness, Angel’s her parents’ vanity, the social convention and hypocritical laws that causes Tess’s tragedy. Tess was a fine and very charming girl, but she was flabby, submissive. She lacked revolting spirit. All these characteristic doom her miserable fate. So Tess’s tragedy is not accidental. 

The murder of Alec leads Tess to the fearful punishment. At the Angel to take care of her younger sister Liza-Lu. In the end, Tess gets executed and Hardy writes thus: “Justice” was done, and the President of the Immortals in Aeschylean phrase had ended his sport with Tess” (Tess, 447). Tess can be seen as the most tragic portrayal of Hardy, a helpless victim who was utmost pure in her mind and heart, there was much purity in her motivations and intentions. She was an innocent woman victimized throughout her life in the unpredictable parables of fate, her acts and decisions were inevitable for her existence, which at the end delivered a striking character with unique individuality. Every reader who journeys along with Tess, identifying with her pain and sufferings, will stand with the definition assigned to her by Hardy; Tess is „pure , she is a pure woman. There is no doubt that Tess and her creator will remain forever in the wonderful world of literature, reflecting the true literary spirit, imaginative spirit and creative impulse of the great genius, who used his tool of writing as a reforming aid, which ignited the mind of every generation.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles is one of the masterpieces in the literary history and also a microcosm of Europe in the19th century. The novel shows the life of the female protagonist during the transition period of chaotic social environment, all kinds of social factors interwoven into a vast network and she is trapped in it and cannot escape. The despair of love is the immediate cause which makes Tess tragic. On the one hand she wants to escape from reality, one the other hand she cannot get rid of the existing social norms. And the causes of her tragedy can be concluded as her characteristics and the influence of the males in her life. The author describes the impacts on the industrial civilization to a village panoramically, then Tess as an individual miniature, further shows the people struggle in the plight of the struggle in the material. All efforts of industrious and kind-hearted Tess are difficult to be recognized by the society, which made her realize the hypocrisy of bourgeois society and the distortion of ethics and created the ultimate tragedy.

10.Q. Discuss Tess of the d’Urbervilles as a typical Hardian novel. Or, Q. Are there any fundamental contrasts between the Durbeyfields and the d’Urbervilles as we come to know them?

The body of Victorian literature is tremendous and would be difficult to categorize with only a few authors. Hardy’s contemporaries included the likes of Charles Dickens, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, E.M. Forster, and Joseph Conrad. Each contributed his or her work to the body of general human knowledge and, to one degree or another, considered the issues that had become a part of the English “discussion.”

Dickens criticized the treatment of the poor and children, the courts, and the clergy in Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Bleak House. William Thackeray challenged Victorian society at all levels in Vanity Fair. The Brontë sisters – Emily, Charlotte, and Anne – wove romantic elements with tragic heroines and heroes in Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Agnes Grey. Matthew Arnold took the discussion of worldly happiness versus religious faith in his poems “The Scholar Gypsy” and “Dover Beach.” Tennyson’s In Memoriam, an epic poem on the loss of dear friends, discusses intellectual and religious issues of the day. Conrad wrote on the psychology of guilt, heroism, and honor in his novels Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness.

the d’Urbervilles is one of Hardy’s Wessex novels, so called because the action in each story takes place in the Wessex region. Other of the Wessex novels include The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) and Jude the Obscure (1895). In each, the main characters Tess of are dealt a cruel fate that they must overcome or be crushed by. In The Casterbridge, Michael Henchard, a respected man, faces a spiritual and physical deterioration that, in the end, destroys him. The main character Jude, Jude Fawley, suffers from a desperate misery of body and mind and dies, like Tess in Tess of the dUrbervilles, a victim of fate.

Hardy uses comparisons throughout the novel to reveal character and theme. The most obvious comparison is between Angel and Alec. The juxtaposition of Angel, who represents the ideal love of Tess, is contrasted with Alec, who represents the sexual possession of Tess. Since neither character is a perfect personification of good or evil, Hardy has both men exhibit both passion and coldness when they interact with Tess. Angel is passionate about Tess and his love for her, while he coolly dismisses her after learning of her torrid past Alec is at first cool in his treatment of Tess as a possession, a symptom of his class, and then he decides later that he cannot live without her.

Hardy’s Tess is filled with these side-by-side comparisons. Peter J. Casagrande, in his book Tess of the dUrbervilles: Unorthodox Beauty, coins a new word “beaugly,” a combination of the words “beautiful” and “ugly.” He argues that the novel is chock-full of these comparisons: poor/rich, good/evil, Angel/brothers; Tess/her siblings; high class/low class, and past/present. Even the title of Casagrande’s work, “Unorthodox Beauty,“ suggests a beauty that is does not conform to the standards by which other novels before or since Tess have been judged. Hardy himself points out the rationale for his philosophy: “The business of the poet and novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things, and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things.” Another Hardy critic, Linda Shires, makes the observation that, Hardy’s treatment of his characters is “blatantly non-stereotypical.” Now we have a novel that challenges stereotypes and sets the tone for several other Hardy.

The poor versus rich comparison should not escape modern readers. Alec’s seemingly endless wealth contrasts with the Durbeyfield’s abject poverty. Hardy uses this juxtaposition to demonstrate the difference between the “haves” and the “have nots.” However, even Hardy makes the point that at sometime in the distant past, just as Alec and his kind take advantage of Tess and her kind, the ancient d’Urbervilles had their way with the poor of their time: “Doubtless some of Tess d’Urbervilles mailed ancestors rollicking home from a fray had dealt the same measure even more ruthlessly towards peasant girls of their time.” But Hardy does not forgive the sins of the past or present saying, “To visit the sins of the fathers upon the children may be a morality good enough for divinities, it is scorned by average human nature; and it therefore does not mend the matter.” While not forgiving Alec for his misdeeds, Hardy does make some attempt to understand Alec’s actions as a part of his class. Marlott have works.

Also, Hardy attempts to comprehend good and evil. The poor down adapted a fatalistic attitude best represented by saying, “It was to be.” Tess questions the contrast between the forces that have dealt her a less than fair hand — “I shouldn’t mind learning why – why the sun do shine on the just and unjust alike.” Tess’ query is one that has perplexed men since the dawn of time: why is there good and evil in the world? Hardy invokes the ancient Greek views on good and evil, along with the Torah and the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible, as well as Milton’s view found in Paradise Lost in an attempt to understand what motivates men to perpetrate either good or bad.

 

Another contrast is found in the families themselves, the Durbeyfields and the Clares. The Durbeyfields, even though impoverished, have a closeness that binds them. Tess’ weakness is her siblings and their well being. In fact, Alec uses his wile to tempt her, much like the character of Satan uses temptation in the Bible and in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Hardy describes Tess’ siblings as “six helpless creatures, who had never been asked if they wished for life on any terms, much less if they wished for it on such hard conditions as were involved in being of the shiftless house of Durbeyfield.” Angel and his brothers, on the other hand, do not share the closeness that Tess’ siblings share. Angel’s brothers would find it difficult to aid each other, let alone others who might be in dire circumstances. Hardy comments “they (the needy) were to be tolerated rather than reckoned with and respected.”

Hardy also contrasts the lifestyle of the farms where Tess works: Talbothays and Flintcomb-Ash. Hardy describes the Talbothays region in breathtaking terms of green valleys and abundant life. “The river itself, which nourished the grass and cows of these renowned dairies, flowed not like the streams in Blackmoor … The Groom waters were clear as the pure River of Life shown to the Evangelist ….” Flintcomb-Ash, on the other hand, is described as “sublime in its dreariness.” Marian, Tess’ friend from Talbothays, calls the farm a “starve-acre place,” not like the lush dairy at Talbothays. Hardy also sets up a contrast between the men who run each farm. Flintcomb has Farmer Groby, a meanspirited man who demands that his workers work even harder. Mr. Crick from Talbothays uses humor and aplomb to motivate his workers.

These contrasts serve to reveal the nature of the people, places, and situations that Tess encounters. They also enable Hardy to make subtle and not-so-subtle observations about how people, both good and bad, interact act with and affect one another, for good or ill.

11. Q. Write an essay explaining the extent to which Thomas Hardy was influenced by events in his own life when he wrote Tess.

Hardy’s letters and autobiography offer insights into real events that influenced the creation of the novel. In mid-1877 Hardy visited Marnhull (the fictional Marlott of the novel) where he witnessed a celebration that included girls dancing much as they do at the start of the novel. Not long after Hardy and his wife caught their servant, Jane Phillips, attempting to bring a man into the house. The Hardys went to see her parents when she ran away soon after. Research indicates the unwed Jane Phillips baptized her newborn child who died at the age of two days. Like Tess in the novel, Jane Phillips also sang and, according to Hardy, had a memorable voice. Another real-life influence was Augusta Way, whom Hardy apparently saw milking cows at her grandfather’s farm as a teenager. He was struck by the image, and he may have invoked it for the novel.

 Tess of the dUrbervilles tells the shocking tale of an uneducated peasant girl whose inexperience leads to her rape by the son of a local nobleman. Tess gives birth to a child who dies and ends up murdering her rapist. She is then executed for the crime. First in serialization and then in publication as a book in 1891, the novel scandalized 19th-century readers. It continued to generate controversy even after author Thomas Hardy was forced to remove some of the more provocative scenes.

Today Tess of the d Urbervilles is recognized as a moving and poetic depiction of a girl trapped by circumstance and class. Its criticism of social conventions and its universal themes of destiny and betrayal have made it one of Hardy’s best-loved and most enduring novels.

In 1856 a woman named Martha Brown was tried, convicted, and hung for of her abusive husband. Hardy, only 16 at the time, witnessed the execution. Though the author never said whether the hanging influenced his depiction of Tess and her plight, he was known for using events from his past in his writing. Scholars assume that the hanging provided inspiration for the book.

Hardy s tragic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles is a classic realistic work. One reason is that he created an animate and tragic figure-Tess. She committed mistake for subjective or objective reasons led to tragic results. She is a good person but not perfect. She has a very good and admirable character , as well as weaknesses and shortcomings. All these contribute to her tragedy. Her life style, feelings and tragic ending better reflect the realities of times. 

Hardy creates Victorian girl s true feelings and the fate of a humble-born struggles with fate, environment, and society but finally fail. This tragedy is not accidental and does not just happen on Tess. Hardy uses a variety of circumstances to frame the tragic plot of Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Throughout the first half of the novel, we see the situation closing in through a series of events, which, because the characters take no measures to avoid or change them, ultimately lead to Tess ruin. Hardy shows that the common people tragedies are consequences of their economic condition as well as the legal, educational, moral and religious standards of the bourgeois society. They are victims of economic oppression and social injustice. He bravely declares war against almost every aspect of the bourgeois superstructure as we can see in Tess.

12. Q. How is the novel an indictment of the class system of English end of the 19th century?

Hardy’s background is important in his representations of social class worked as a maid, and his father was a master mason. Because they provided him with as many advantages as they could, he had opportunities to move to a higher social position. Hardy’s awareness of the problems of rural life, classism, and morality is often reflected in his fiction; poverty, job instability, and a generally hard life are more responsible for lower morality–if it is lower indeed—than class. This concept is shown in the portrayal of Tess. She is not impure because she is poor; rather she is exposed to dangers that arise her family’s poverty places her in a vulnerable position.

 Moreover, both the wealthy Alec d’Urberville and the more philosophically middle-class Angel Clare commit immoral, irresponsible, and cruel acts, further imperiling Tess. Alec rapes her and leaves her pregnant; Angel admits to sexual relations before marriage-his doing, unlike Tess’s—and then abandons her when she admits to a similar family: their ancient event. Hardy highlights the lost aristocratic history of Tess’s ancestral nobility and its possessions are in ruins, and its surviving son, Jack Durbeyfield, is a lazy drunk with few, if any, morals.

Although Angel is a critic of the nobility, he is impressed by Tess’s lineage. But because Angel comes from a class that tends to regard rural laborers as simple, he places them only slightly above farm animals. Angel is even surprised when Tess has complex thoughts. But when Angel learns about Tess’s past, he blames her behavior on congenital weakness: essentially, since her formerly noble family fell into decline and poverty, he thinks that she must have a genetic tendency toward moral weakness.

Thomas Hardy was one of the finest writers of the Victorian age. Among countless poems and novels there is one that seems to stand alone, “Tess of the D’Urbervilles.” This novel is one of Hardy’s most recognized works maybe because the problems of the Victorian era relate to many in this modern age. Problems such as rape, the importance of purity and never knowing what you really have until it’s gone. These three things make up the theme, sub-theme and motif of Thomas Hardy’s, “Tess of the D’Urbervilles.” Not being aware of the good things you have until they’re gone is the theme of Tess. In the novel, Angel Clare and Tess are married, but when Angel finds out the truth about Tess past he is outraged and hurt. Succumbing to his initial feelings, Angel leaves Tess and tries to continue on about his life without her.

As time passed, Angel finally realizes that he does love Tess, and so he tries to locate her. Once he finds her, he learns she has started a new life with Alec D’Urberville; the man of her past. Angel begs Tess to come back to him but she says he came too late. The theme behind the story is that Angel recognizes his mistake but still misses out on her love. When Angel left Tess he was just acting on impulse. By the time he sat down and rationalized his decisions, Tess had already continued on about her life. Angel knew he loved Tess and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, but his feelings weren’t evident until he lost her. Once Tess was gone Angel knew that he could not live without her. This is a problem still in our time. People take for granted what they have and never really realize what they had until they’ve lost it. With time people will learn to value what they already possess and try to give it all the attention it deserves. Rape is, and always will be, a part of society. Fortunately, in our time people of any statute can be punished for such a crime.

Related to the issue of classism is the rise of industrialization, which Hardy viewed as causing a problematic mobility and a loss of connection to nature and local identity. This is represented especially by the threshers at Flintcomb-Ash, the least vibrant farm in the novel. Changing demands created the necessity for rural itinerancy. Tess works at multiple farms throughout the novel. Her family must relocate from their farm after her father’s death. Car Darch and her sister Nancy, Marian, and Izz all work at multiple farms, and at the end of the season they are left to seek work elsewhere. The inability to remain stationary destabilizes an area and results in a loss of community. In addition technology, which Hardy represents as dangerous and disturbing, causes farm workers to be disconnected from the land that they work. There is a notable contrast between the idyllic work at the Talbothays Dairy, in which milkmaids even have a preference for particular cows, and the unpleasant, depersonalized labor at Flintcomb-Ash.

In the Victorian era however, rape victims were silent and their suffering went unheard. Often, rape victims were blamed for their misfortune, and were said to bring it upon themselves. This was the case with Tess and Alec D’Urberville. When Tess told her mother of her rape, all her mother could say was that Tess should have “known the ways of men.” Tess bore a child of Alec D’Urberville which then died. For this she was looked down upon for being an unwed mother. Again, this was her fault , for not “knowing the ways of men.” In our day it is not the rape victims fault for what happens to them, though that thought remains still However, in the Victorian era the victim was said to have seduced the rapist into that act. Because Alec D’Urberville was wealthy, powerful and a “gentleman,” as seen by much of his society, his wrongdoing conveniently went unnoticed and unpunished. Tess’ pain and suffering went unheard by many until she did something dreadful; she murdered him. After her crime, Tess was still blamed for what happened and no one took any notice that Alec Durberville is the one who drove her to do what she did. ape represents the sub-theme in this novel and was a major issue in that time and in ours. 

The importance of purity is a recurring message throughout the novel. In the era a women’s purity was a very important thing. If a woman was not pure then she was looked down upon by community. It did not matter if a women’s innocence was stolen from her or if she willingly gave it away, in the eyes of her community she was till seen in the same light. The loss of innocence is often referred to the text. Tess is seen in the beginning of the novel dressed in white clothing and wearing a red ribbon. White is often used to describe purity and red for seduction or a loss of innocence. When Alec D’Urberville’s character is introduced he is bathing in red. He lives among red roses and strawberries and is dressed in dark clothes. After the rape, when Alec departs from Tess he disappears through the red berry bushes. It is as though Hardy is showing the two worlds in which Alec and Tess lived. Tess’ world was full of pure, innocent scenes while Alec D’Urberville’s surrounded by sins.

 As the novel progresses Tess is no longer seen in white clothing, she’s ark or plain dothes. The rape affects the way society views Tess, but it also alters the way in which Tess views herself. She sees her life in this way because her innocence was stolen from her by Alec. The importance of this innocence is also important in the modern world. If a girl is not “pure” she is looked down upon. The result of a woman being impure is not as severe as it might have been in the Victorian era, but the consequences it brings are still the same and just as painful. Views of the Victorian era haven’t been forgotten day. The way that society regards such issues as rape, the importance of caring much for the good things you have until they its too late is what may have been altered. The impact that these problems have on people’s lives is what defines them into different categories. In the future, all of these problems will still have a major impact on people’s lives; the difference will be the acceptable and unacceptable ways of life. These lifestyles will determine the value of such issues as rape, the importance of purity and not knowing what you’ve been given until it’s gone. Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” is an interesting portrayal of the way Victorian life dealt with issues and the way that those transcend time. importance of social

issues Tess of the d’Urbervilles presents complex pictures of both the class in nineteenth-century England and the difficulty of defining class in any simple way . Certainly the Durbeyfields are a powerful emblem of the way in which class is no longer evaluated in Victorian times as it would have been in the Middle Ages-that is, by blood alone, with no attention paid to fortune or worldly success. Indubitably the Durbeyfields have purity of blood, yet for the parson and nearly everyone else in the novel, this fact amounts to nothing more than a piece of genealogical trivia. In the Victorian context, cash matters more than lineage, which explains how Simon Stokes, Alec’s father, was smoothly able to use his large fortune to purchase a lustrous family name and transform his clan into the Stoke-d’Urbervilles.

The d’Urbervilles pass for what the Durbeyfields truly are-authentic nobility-simply because definitions of class have changed. The issue of class confusion even affects the Clare clan, whose most promising son, Angel, is intent on becoming a farmer and marrying a milkmaid, thus bypassing the traditional privileges of a Cambridge education and a parsonage. His willingness to work side by side with the farm laborers helps endear him to Tess, and their acquaintance would not have been possible if he were a more traditional and elitist aristocrat. Thus, the three main characters in the Angel-Tess-Alec triangle are all strongly marked by confusion regarding their respective social classes, an issue that is one of the main concerns of the novel.

13. Q. Near the end of the novel, the doomed Tess suggests that Angel should marry her sister, ‘Liza-Lu. Do you think this would be a successful marriage? State your reasons.

Or,

Q. Why did Hardy’s subtitle provoke the public – which ideology does he criticise with his subtitle & why can it be seen as a radical critique of a patriarchal conception of femininity?

The Victorians held the notion that moral purity was tied to physical virginity or sex within wedlock-not one’s character or state of mind. This definition did not exempt victims of sexual violence. Whether a woman was seduced, raped, prostituted herself, or chose to have a sexual relationship, she was considered “Fallen” if she engaged in such activities outside of marriage. Charities existed for the purpose of rehabilitating and reforming “Fallen” women, including the Highgate House where Victorian author Christina Rossetti volunteered from 1859–70. Activists employed various tactics, such as providing pamphlets on morality and running homes like St. Mary Magdalene (also called Highgate House) where women could live in a community and learn skills to help them earn a living. Modern readers will note that responsibility for a woman’s lack of virginity fell solely on the woman; men had no responsibilities toward former partners and frequently failed or refused to provide for their own illegitimate children.

Similarly, in Tess of the d’Urbervilles Tess repeatedly bears the responsibility and the consequences for her fallen state. Angel accuses her of being a flirt when she refuses his advances. On hearing of her past he acknowledges she was “sinned against,” but he has envisioned her as “pure” and according to his definition-and society’s—she is not. When her former rapist, Alec, becomes devoutly religious, he suggests she veils her face and asks her to swear not to lead him astray. In Victorian England Tess is as guilty as the The perpetrator.

The 1857 act required a man only to prove his wife had committed adultery. A woman, however, had to prove adultery as well as cruelty, bigamy, incest, or desertion. Hardy tackles issues of marriage and divorce in both Tess of the dUrbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Tess mistakenly believes Angel can divorce her. However, because the event occurred before her marriage, her failure to tell him before the wedding and his refusal to let her tell him mean they no longer have the solution of ending their marriage when Angel reacts so callously to her revelations,

One of the recurrent themes of the novel is the way in which men can dominate women, exerting a power over them linked primarily to their maleness. Sometimes this command is purposeful, in the man’s full knowledge of his exploitation, as when Alec acknowledges how bad he is for seducing Tess for his own momentary pleasure. Alec’s act of abuse, the most life-altering event that Tess experiences in the novel, is clearly the most serious instance of male domination over a female. But there are other, less blatant examples of women’s passivity toward dominant men. When, after Angel reveals that he prefers Tess, Tess’s friend Retty attempts suicide and her friend Marian becomes an alcoholic, which makes their earlier schoolgirl-type crushes on Angel seem disturbing. This devotion is not merely fanciful love, but unhealthy obsession. These girls appear utterly dominated by a desire for a man who, we are told explicitly, does not even realize that they are interested in him. This sort of unconscious male domination of women is perhaps even more unsettling than Alec’s outward and self-conscious cruelty. 

Even Angel’s love for Tess, as pure and gentle as it seems, dominates her unhealthy way. Angel substitutes an idealized picture of Tess’s country purity for the reallife woman that he continually refuses to get to know. When Angel calls Tess names like “Daughter of Nature” and “Artemis,” we feel that he may be denying her true self in favor of a mental image that he prefers. Thus, her identity and experiences are suppressed, albeit unknowingly. This pattern of male domination is finally reversed with Tess’s murder of Alec, in which, for the first time in the novel, a woman takes active steps against a man. Of course, this act only leads to even greater suppression of a woman by men, when the crowd of male police officers arrest Tess at Stonehenge. Nevertheless, for just a moment, the accepted pattern of submissive women bowing to dominant men is interrupted, and Tess’s act seems heroic.

The heroine Tess in Tess of the DUrbervilles was born in a rural worker family. Her father was a peddler, foolish and vanity. Her mother was a milking station, vulgar and shallow. There were seven siblings in her family. Life was penniless and there was a heavy burden in her family. However, in such a family, Tess did not feel pessimism and despair. On the contrary, she had a good heart, industrious and strong character. Tess is a diligent, kind, and family-centered woman. She was the eldest daughter in the home. Because of family difficulties, she began to work to make money for the family as soon as she left school and she shared the burden of life at home without complaint. Tess drove horsedrawn to the carriage market. Cart died accidently on the way home. 

This made Tess suddenly break life source. So her mother urged with the remaining D’Urbervilles, so that Tess could marry a gentleman, and then they will get rid of the poor life. She was very unwilling, but when she thought of the death of their horse-the only means to make their living, she came to the D’Urbervilles. There she met Alec D’Urbervilles, who was attracted by Tess’s beautiful appearance and always tried to seduce her. Having received a job of tending to chickens, Tess stayed in the DUrbervilles. Her tragic life had just begun. Because of her ignorance and innocence, Tess was raped and lost her chastity soon. She returned home and told her mother her terrible experiences, hoping to get consolation from her mother, but what her mother only worried about was whether Alec would marry Tess or not. Alec utilized the fact of her poor family and wanted to help her. The brave girl refused and went to work in the field, but worse still, Alec followed her from place to place in order to possess her again.

At last, Tess managed to get rid of Alec to give birth to her baby. The baby did not live long, however, and after its death, Tess went to a dairy farm as a dairy maid. It was there that Tess met Angel, son of a clergyman, and fell in love with him. He thought of her as a beautiful and innocent young girl. But her innocence caused her to feel that she was wicked, so she rejected Angel Clare’s love. She refused his love and urged him to turn to one of the other girls even though she suffered much from a great grief. But Argel, acting against the wishes of his parents, insisted on marrying her.

Finally, they got married. It seems Tess would be happy from then on. On their wedding night, they told each other about their past hoping to be forgiven by each other. Tess forgave Angel’s past, and then she told about her nightmare with Alec, thinking that he would forgive her as she had. But in contrast Angel deserted her and left for Brazil. In order to keep herself and her family alive, Tess had to become a labor in the field again. What was worse, her father died. With the bad condition of her family and no hope to obtain Angel’s return, the poor girl went to Alec again, seeking help from Alec, who was a preacher now, and lived with him as his mistress.

Unexpectedly, Angel returned from Brazil and repented of his cruel treatment of Tess. But Tess’s relationship with Alec stopped her from living with Angel happily. She hated Alec and she believed all her tragedy was caused by Alec. She killed him. After a short happy life with Angel, Tess was arrested by the police and hanged. Tess was a brave and strong woman with dignity. When she was violated by Alec, She had chosen her dignity, and returned to her hometown. Although she received her neighbors contempt for unethical behavior; although her friends were not very friendly to her; although there were so much worldly prejudice and bondage; although even his father thought she gave the family shame, Tess did not despair. She tried to get rid of the shadow of the past, trying to make herself against the interference of gossip.

Even in the heyday of religious thought, she ignored the religious canon to give the priest for his dead son baptism. When she was rejected, she says, “I never go to your church with” such a “rebellion”. For women at that time, this is how brave and fearless behavior! After a variety of trauma, Tess chose to leave home again, live alone, in a strange place and continue to live strong by her own efforts. Tess was a woman who dared to love and hate. She only loved her husband Claire through her whole life. Even Clare left her for Brazil because of her past, but Tess still suffered in silence, waiting, hoping that one day Claire would come back and hoping they would be able to reconcile. She even . made herself look ugly. What a steadfast love it is, and this is a woman’s most faithful expression to her husband. In the face of the endless entanglement and threats of Alec and the difficulties and hardships of life, Tess was still thinking of Clare and she wrote to Clare, pleading with him to come back to save her, for Clare was the hope of her life. However, what left for her was only a long wait, only the harsh reality brought her unfairly, only the harm her husband brought to her. She was angry, despaired, and awaked. She had a strong sense of rebellion in the heart, only waiting for the day to break out. How much Tess loved Clare and how much she hated Alec. In the eyes of Tess, Alec was a nasty hypocrite. From the outset Alec cheated her virginity and when they met again, he talked of virtue and morality hypocritically, which all made Tess feel sick. Tess hit Alec’s face with leather gloves with blood, and that was what she would not yield to power performance. Tess resisted the temptation of Alec that he wanted to help her to pay for the debt, which was the good character that she had not stopped. Tess hated the hypocrisy of people such as Alec.

Finally, when her lover came back, Tess’ revolt consciousness completely awakened, she finally broke and killed Alec with a knife. She spent the last stage of her life with Clare. She put an end to all her love and hatred.

14.Q. Many of Hardy’s characters are defined either by their religious beliefs or lack of them. What forms of spirituality are represented in the novel? Which does Hardy appear to favor? Are there any belief systems in the novel that do not, at some point or another, cause harm to the believer or to others? Does Hardy give us any guidance in distinguishing beneficial beliefs from harmful ones?

In Tess of the dUrbervilles, we gain insight into Hardy’s view on religion as he uses his characters to make observations that may have been quite disconcerting to his Victorian readers. This is not to say that Hardy abandoned his views on religion, instead, he “became an agnostic, [and] he remained emotionally involved with the Church.” Hardy’s greatest dispute was with the dogma or beliefs of the church.

Hardy had once wanted to become a minister but abandoned that idea when he could no longer afford to attend the university. Robert Schweik, a Hardy critic, relates that Hardy became interested in religion on a personal level – that the subject of infant baptism particularly affected him. Hardy could see no harm in baptizing an infant if doing so makes the family of the child feel better about their child’s salvation. This position is made clear in the scenes with Tess and Sorrow.

The scene is played out in Chapter 14 when Tess baptizes Sorrow. She learns that her own ceremony is the same as if it were performed in church; however, on the subject of a proper Christian burial, the local vicar replies, “Ah – that’s another matter.” In the true sense of charity, Hardy argues, Tess should have been allowed to bury Sorrow in a proper manner, not be relegated to the part of the cemetery that has unbaptized infants, drunks, and the damned. The burial is carried out under the cover of darkness, not during the daylight hours, to protect Tess and to shield her from the scorn of churchgoers. Hardy’s point is that Sorrow’s burial should have been treated as any other burial. The position of the church is too harsh, Hardy seems to argue, when Sorrow is christened in the proper manner, but is not given a proper Christian burial.

Also, the positioning of pagan and Christian rituals makes for an interesting look at the dichotomy that exists in the smaller rural areas. Some rituals, now obscured by the passage of time, were assimilated into Christian ceremonies. The May Dance, for instance, in Chapter 1, celebrated the end of winter and the beginning of summer. Druids and other pagans of the area would have celebrated that date with a ceremony of sorts. Also, Tess, before she is literally sacrificed for the good of society, journeys to Stonehenge, the temple of monoliths used for sun worship and possibly human sacrifice. Tess says to Angel about the pantheon, “And you used to say at Talbothays that I was a heathen. So now I am at home.” Also, Hardy recollects the earlier ancient Greek tragedies by invoking the name of Aeschylus, the principal writer of Greek tragic drama, to close his work, not biblical or modern sagas, as we would have imagined a nineteenth-century writer to do.

Hardy quite possibly sees religion abandoning the people, with dogmas that do not mesh with a modern society. In Tess, with few exceptions, Hardy’s portrayal of the “traditionally” religious people is not particularly complimentary. Take the casual remarks by Angel’s brothers, Felix (“all Church”) and Cuthbert (all College“). They are quite involved in themselves, changing their beliefs and values to match the times. Both brothers are clerics without compassion, possibly in the same mold as the Vicar in Marlott.

If religion is as shallow as Hardy predicts, then the sign painter and his art are the worst form of shallowness. The sign painter who wanders the countryside uses the simplest texts he can find to put on his religious signs. When Tess asks if he believes in the text about “sin not your own seeking,” he replies, “I cannot split hairs on the burning query.” Essentially, he is not educated enough to think of a reasonable answer, and his perspective on religion is limited. Hardy saw this in the common folk he knew and was loathe to think that their religious beliefs were so shallow that they did not understand the deeper meanings of the texts they read.

Also, the sign painter saves the hottest sign messages for rural districts, where the ordinary folk would be frightened and cowed into submission. These seem to be “religious views on a poker chip” – philosophical entreaties to urge folks to turn to the Bible for aid. But these signs seem to miss the deeper meanings of the scriptures, which Tess seems to understand, not just the superficial meanings espoused by others. Likewise, Alec is the worst kind of convert, a sinner who renounces his former ways but becomes a sinner again at the slightest hint of temptation. The signs put up by the sign painter and Alec’s conversion all point to a faith that is fleeting at best.

However, not all clergy are poor representations of religion, nor all believers false. Tess, for example, has an uncomplicated religion, a simpler and deeper understanding than her education would allow. She is as powerful as any clergyman when she baptizes Sorrow, but realistic when she realizes that she must pay for her sins when confronted by the police. Similarly, Angel’s father, Reverend Clare is a good man, with good intentions, and a good message. He is part of the evangelical movement who practices what he preaches. He is described as Paulist or Pauliad, from Paul of Tarsus, who believed that salvation came through grace and belief, which came through emotional responses rather than intellectual ones. Thus we see Hardy from two separate perspectives, one who uses biblical allusion with the knowledge of a believer, but the skepticism of an outsider.

outsider.

15. Q Briefly Describe a critical estimate of Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Tess of the DUrbervilles is a tragic monumental work of Thomas Hardy, an English of revolt. writer of critical realism. The paper will analyze Tess of the d’Urbervilles through character’s personalities , its social background and the old traditional religion. The paper introduces the causes of Tess’s Tragic fate which is influenced by the personalities of the main characters , hypocritical morals, unjust law, depression of capitalism. Tess is just one of the victims who are suffering sorrows. Through Tess, we can see the female’s low status at the same time, which shows that we should develop a habit of economic independence and spirit Tess of DUrbervilles is regarded as Hardy’s tragic masterpiece. It is a story of a country girl who is first presented as an innocent girl but turns into a tragic heroine. From Hardy’s point of view, Tess is not responsible for what she has done. She is a victim of a series of misfortunes which slowly destroy her personality.

The novel is written in seven chapters, each chapter representing a phase of Tess’s life after which Tess becomes more mature. With the life as a series of tragedies, Tess refuses to remain a victim and struggles through life . Tess of D’Urbervilles is a tragic novel of a young country girl named Tess who goes through many struggles in her life but ends up violated by one man and forsaken by another” (Heap). She is a poor country girl, Tess’s father discovers that he is the descendant of the Norman noble family of the d’Urbervilles. As they are very poor, Tess is sent to the new found relatives by her parents, hoping to marry a nobleman. Unfortunately for Tess, the new “relatives” have taken the name because it sounded good.

There, she meets Alec, the man who seduces and rapes her. Tess returns to her parents’ home where she gives birth to a boy who soon died. Tess leaves home again to work as a milkmaid on a farm where she meets Angel Clare and they fall in love with each other. Scared of losing him, Tess does not tell him about her past. However, Tess confesses about her past to her husband in their wedding night, after Angel confesses his previous affair with a woman. Angel can not bare the thought that Tess is not pure as he believes, and therefore leaves Tess for Brazil . Tess struggles through poverty but in the end accepts the help of Alec. Angel finally returns to find Tess live with Alec. Tess still loves Angel, so she murders Alec and runs away with Angel; however, the police find them at Stonehenge and Tess is hanged.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles is both a tragedy of love and a tragedy of life. The process of tragedy is the process of various contradictions between the characters and the social environment. The cause of the tragedy is either the character as the dominant factor or the environment as the main guide or the result of the interaction between the two. Although Hardy interprets the heroine’s misfortune as a joke of fate, Tess’s misfortune is due to her social, economic, political environment and class status.

Tess was born into a peasant family, lives in a new and old age, and influenced by some old moral and fatalistic ideas. The novel belongs to Hardy’s novels called “Character and Environment”. The image of Tess is a modern woman suffering from the old moral persecution, a new farm worker. 

Tess came from a peasant family, and some old moral and with a weak side in her resistance to traditional morality. When she was persecuted by public opinion and traditional morality, she regarded herself as guilty. The later tragedy resulted from the deeply rooted feudal concept of society and her lover’s virginity complex. She regarded herself as an incarnation of sin, and always felt that people all over the world are paying aiiention to her situation. She couldn’t forget her shame more than anyone else.

It was with a net of her own morality that Tess bound herself up. In fact, her consciousness of self-binding had a profound historical basis and is a concrete expression of the whole social consciousness. Tess, as an individual in a certain historical period, inevitably formed the social consciousness and moral concept in a specific historical period, and her thoughts and actions were inevitably restricted by the times and social ideas.

Tess of the dUrbervilles inspired a great deal of criticism, much of it negative, because of its controversial stance on fallen women, its relative openness about sex and the female body, and its criticism of religion. The Saturday Review indicates Hardy “tells an unpleasant story in an unpleasant way.” The Spectator acknowledges the book as a “powerful novel” but “cannot admire [Hardy’s] motive in writing” it.

However, not all reviews were negative. According to The Pall Gazette, Hardy had “never exercised [his art] more powerfully-never, certainly, more tragically-than in this moving presentment of a ‘pure woman.”” The Atlantic Monthly called Tess of the d’Urbervilles “Hardy’s best novel yet.” The reviewer for The Athenaeum went even further, saying that Tess was “destined, there can be no doubt, to rank high among achievements of Victorian novelists.”

In general critics admired the quality of the writing, the skill, and the execution. However, other critics or sometimes the same ones-took issue with Hardy’s implicit condemnation of religion and society in the way fallen women such as Tess were treated.

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