Victim in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles Essay

Victim in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles Essay

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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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