Tragedy in Tess of the D’Urberville by Thomas Hardy Essay

893 Words 4 Pages
Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urberville is based on the tragedy of Tess’ life. Throughout the novel Tess goes through numerous amounts of suffering .Traditionally, it was believed that tragedy was due to hamartia. Aristotle described hamartia as a flaw that leads to the fall of the protagonist caused by mistake in a person’s behaviour. However, Tess does not have a flaw but she still suffers despite the fact that she did not do anything wrong. Hardy demonstrates that Tess is a woman in a patriarchal society which leads to her downfall.

The D’Urberville name dictates the lives of Tess and her family to such an extent. The transformation from Durbeyfield to D’Urberville is very significant in the novel. Hardy’s use of renaming and the
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Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urberville is based on the tragedy of Tess’ life. Throughout the novel Tess goes through numerous amounts of suffering .Traditionally, it was believed that tragedy was due to hamartia. Aristotle described hamartia as a flaw that leads to the fall of the protagonist caused by mistake in a person’s behaviour. However, Tess does not have a flaw but she still suffers despite the fact that she did not do anything wrong. Hardy demonstrates that Tess is a woman in a patriarchal society which leads to her downfall.

The D’Urberville name dictates the lives of Tess and her family to such an extent. The transformation from Durbeyfield to D’Urberville is very significant in the novel. Hardy’s use of renaming and the constant shift from Durbeyfield to D’Urberville shows how important these names are in the novel. She is a Durbeyfield and despite not wanting to pursue the D’Urberville legacy, she is a believer in her aristocrat. However, Tess’ father (John Durbeyfield) goes further. “Luxuriously stretched himself out upon the bank among the daisies”. He is desperate to adopt the name; despite not having the wealth to go with it. He insists that people call him “Sir John D’Urberville”. John is a prime example of how the D’Urberville name has immediately affected Tess’ family.
Tess’ fate with the D’Urberville name begins when Joan learns of the D’Urbervilles. “My project is to send Tess to claim kin”, she wants Tess to marry Alec for wealth not for love.
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