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Essay about Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the d’Urbervilles is subtitled ‘A pure woman’ and this is how Thomas Hardy sees and portrays her throughout his novel. As the novel progresses the reader is introduced to many aspects of Tess as she grows from being a child on the verge of adulthood to a mature and experienced woman. In some parts of the book Hardy describes Tess as very passive but in other parts of the novel she is shown as a powerful and even godly sort of woman.

The character of Tess is first shown near the beginning of the book as a proud and shy young girl. She is very loving of her family and holds them in high regard especially her parents even though they sometimes do feckless, irresponsible things such as when her father
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Hardy is very intent on mentioning the cruelty of ‘fate’ which appears especially in chapter 4 with the discussion between Tess and her brother Abraham concerning the stars, the two children decide that the misfortunes they suffer are all because they live on a ‘blighted star’ instead of the normal Victorian belief that all misfortunes are due to God punishing someone. This shows Tess as an intelligent and educated young woman. These ideas though technically written in the nineteenth centaury reflect more rightly twentieth centaury views and beliefs.

The mere thought that life was random and doesn’t always turn out how you want was particularly offensive to people in the Victorian era who believed that there was a divine God that controlled everything. The idea that Hardy thought Tess to be a “pure woman” even after she had gotten pregnant before marriage and committed murder, was also unheard of in the Victorian era. After the death of Prince Tess feels guilty and responsible for the event, which ironically she had no control over, “she regarded herself in the light of a murderess” but her guilt leaves her more inclined to her parent’s wishes.

Tess’s return to Marlott from Trantridge becomes the subject of gossip in the town because she had come back in a lower social standing than before she left-pregnant and unmarried. In the dusk “when light and darkness are so evenly balanced” she feels free and her burden and problems fall away, she feels as if
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