Tragedy takes the shape of many events, and influences them in a number of ways. People also contribute to tragedy consciously, as well as subconsciously, unaware of the consequences that will subsequently follow. In the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, tragedy is undoubtedly present in the protagonist, Tess Durbeyfield’s life. Although Tess is portrayed as an innocent girl who makes wrongful decisions which lead to her destruction, Tess’ parents, Angel Clare, and Alec d’Urberville play an important part in her life, leading to her tragedy. The Durbeyfield parents started the cycle of tragedy in Tess life by thinking of themselves first. Her parents’ weakness is that her father is lazy and her mother is simple.
The Durbeyfield’s need of a new horse, and the mother’s greed for her daughter to claim kin against her will with a noble family member of the d’Urbervilles, starts Tess on her journey to her destruction. Tess’ parents could have supported themselves if they had not been so proud about being descendants of the prestigious d’Urbervilles. Tess, being simplistic, is unaware of dangers a man such as Alec d’Urberville posed, and it is not fair that she is being made to suffer for succumbing to an unknown danger. This is noted when she protests to her mother: Oh, Mother, my mother! How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why didn’t you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn’t you warn me? but I never had the chance o’ learning in that way, and you did not help me!” (Hardy 95) Tess’ innocence is at risk her because she is not informed of the dangers of life by her parents; her mother does not even stop her from leaving with Alec, even though she has a feeling that Alec may take advantage of Tess. The greed for her daughter’s marriage into a noble family has put the wool over her eyes.
Four main characters (and one-sentence description of each)Tess Durbeyfield – She is the main character who is raped, then married, but shunned by her husband because of the rape while before they were married, he had an affair. Alec d’Urberville – He is a man believed by the Durbeyfield’s to be a relative, but Tess finds out that he is no relative. He falls in love with Tess and rapes her. Angel ...
Another incident that adds to the tragedy of Tess is the letter that she receives from her mother just before her marriage to Angel, advising her not to tell him about her past life, including the rape and the baby. The deception and manipulation of Tess’ parents triggers her tragic life. Angel Clare’s refusing to accept Tess’ unfortunate past is the beginning of an intensely tragic portion of Tess’ life. He seeks forgiveness for his former affair with an older woman, but is unwilling to forgive Tess for her forced intimacy with Alec d’Urberville. After Angel leaves for Brazil, Tess sends him a letter in which she confesses her loyalty and her love, and asks for his help against the temptation presented by Alec: I am, as I say, worried, pressed to do what I will not do. It cannot be that I shall yield one inch, yet I am in defenseless on account of my first error.
I cannot say more about this – it makes me too miserable. But if I break down by falling into some fearful snare, my last state will be worse than my first” (Hardy 398) Angel’s stubbornness and pride puts a dent not only into his own life, but to Tess’ life as well. Even though he knows about Tess’ past, he does not return immediately after receiving her letter of plea, knowing that he is her last hope to fend against Alec. Angel’s character may change towards the end, but not before he adds on to Tess’ tragic life again by returning. Alec d’Urberville adds the most to Tess’ tragic life. He seduces her, takes advantage of her innocence, rapes her, and adds constant fear to her life. He seems to be a gentleman, but is a false imposter. To one, Alec adds the most to Tess’ tragic life because he has gotten her pregnant. Although her child, Sorrow, dies, this incident would play a crucial role in her marriage to Angel.
c~n. Introduction: Thomas Hardy is one of the the most important authors in British literature. Hardy's own life wasn't similar to his stories. He was born on the Eldon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. His father was a master mason and building contractor, his mother, whose tastes included Latin poets and French romances, provided for his education. After schooling in Dorchester Hardy was ...
This whole ‘affair’ with Alec is the trigger to Angel’s leaving Tess. Alec is an amoral man, who only seems to care about himself and his needs more than others. Alec is possessive of Tess although she is technically married to Angel. He exemplifies this point when he says, “Remember, my lady, I was your master once! I will be your master again. If you are any man’s wife you are mine!” (Hardy 392).
Alec’s jealously of Tess, as well as his superior attitude to her makes him seem like a villain to one.
Alec never seems to be happier than making Tess’ life miserable by the minute. Tess’ parents, Angel Clare, and Alec d’Urberville play an important part in Tess’ tragedy. Her parents fail to educate their grown daughter on the consequences of life and their greed for fame starts the cycle of her affliction. Angel leaves Tess after marrying her, leaving her disgraceful, with nowhere to go and no one to solace in. Alec’s seduction and overpowering attitude leaves Tess pregnant with a sick baby. Tragedy is undoubtedly present in one’s life, but the outside influence one has, determines which path this catastrophe takes. Works Cited Page Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
England: Longman, 1993.