During Hardy's time, divorce wasn't as prevalent as it is today, and usually only wealthy men were able to leave their wives. A man could divorce his wife on grounds as simple as adultery, while a woman had to prove cruelty, rape, sodomy, incest or big...
... middle of paper ...
...cause that's just what society says people must do. She says that even though her name is Mrs. Richard Phillotson on paper, she is still Sue Bridehead on the inside. Because Hardy wrote Jude the Obscure when his first wife was still alive, the dissatisfaction with marriage in the novel seems to reflect Hardy's already strained relationship with his wife, and Sue can be seen as a character that Hardy wished to have as his wife.
Overall, Jude the Obscure attacks the conventional view of marriage during Hardy's time. Hardy offended many with his novel, including his wife. And after the social response to his book, Hardy gave up writing fiction for good and began writing poetry, which he felt would give him greater intellectual freedom. Marriage during the Victorian era was nothing like it is today, and those who went against its institutions suffered the consequences.
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