Victim in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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Victim in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles Tess Durbeyfield is a victim of external and uncomprehended forces. Passive and yielding, unsuspicious and fundamentally pure, she suffers a weakness of will and reason, struggling against a fate that is too strong for her. Tess is the easiest victim of circumstance, society and male idealism, who fights the hardest fight yet is destroyed by her ravaging self-destructive sense of guilt, life denial and the cruelty of two men. It is primarily the death of the horse, Prince, the DurbeyfieldÕs main source of livelihood, that commences the web of circumstance that envelops Tess. Tess views herself as the cause of her families economic downfall, however she also believes that she is parallel to a murderess. The imagery at this point in the novel shows how distraught and guilt ridden Tess is as she places her hand upon PrinceÕs wound in a futile attempt to prevent the blood loss that cannot be prevented. This imagery is equivalent to a photographic proof - a lead-up to the events that will shape TessÕs life and the inevitable ÒevilÓ that also, like the crimson blood that spouts from PrinceÕs wound, cannot be stopped. The symbolic fact that Tess perceives herself to be comparable to a murderess is an insight into the murder that she will eventually commit and is also a reference to the level of guilt that now consumes her. ÒNobody blamed Tess as she blamed herself... she regarded herself in the light of a murderess.Ó Her parents, aware of her beauty, view Tess as an opportunity for future wealth and coupled with the unfortunate circumstance of Prince's death urge Tess to... ... middle of paper ... ...ill and reason are undermined by her sensuality. Tess herself sums up her own blighted life best; "Once a victim, always a victim - that's the law!" Works Cited Casagrande, Peter J. Tess of the d'Urbervilles: Unorthodox Beauty. New York: Twayne, 1992. Claridge, Laura. "Tess: A Less Than Pure Woman Ambivalently Presented." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 28 (1986): 324-38. Hall, Donald. Afterward. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. By Thomas Hardy. New York: Signet, 1980. 417-27. Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. 1891. New York: Signet Classic, 1980. McMurtry, Jo. Victorian Life and Victorian Fiction. Hamden: Shoe String, 1979. Mickelson, Anne Z. Thomas Hardy's Women and Men: The Defeat of Nature. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1976. Weissman, Judith. Half Savage and Hardy and Free. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 1987.
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