Tess Durbeyfield is a victim of both external and internal 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 to overcome. Tess falls victim to circumstance, society, and male idealism. Tess may be unable to overcome these apparent difficulties 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 Durbeyfield’s main source of livelihood that commences the web of circumstance that envelops Tess. The imagery at this point in the novel shows how distraught and guilt ridden Tess is as she places her hand upon Prince’s wound in a futile attempt to prevent the blood loss that cannot be prevented.
The imagery is equivalent to a photographic proof – a lead-up to the events that will shape Tess’s life and the inevitable “evil” that also, like the crimson blood that spouts from Prince’s 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. “Nobody blamed Tess as she blamed herself… she regarded herself in the light of a murderess.” Tess views herself as the cause of her family’s economic downfall.
... trying in vain to defeat the Dark Prince, the Prince ignores his taunts, and the evil personality ... the Vizier shows up, and fights the Prince. The Prince emerges victorious and gives the Dagger of ... that point) is seemingly silenced forever. The Prince confronts the now monstrous Vizier and finally ... the kingdom, turning them into monsters. The Prince, Princess Farah (the Maharajah’s daughter), ...
Tess’s parents, aware of her beauty, view Tess as an opportunity for future accumulation of wealth. With the unfortunate circumstance of Prince’s death Tess, is urged to venture from the “en girded and secluded region” of Marlott to seek financial assistance from the D’urberville’s in nearby Trantridge. It is here in Trantridge that she first encounters the sexually dominating and somewhat demonic Alec D’urberville. Alec’s first words to Tess, “Well, my Beauty, what can I do for you?” indicate that first impression of Tess is only of sexual magnetism.
Alec then proceeds to charm Tess by pushing strawberries into her mouth and pressing roses into her bosom. These fruits of love are an indication of Alec’s lust and sexual desire for Tess as he preys upon her purity and rural innocence. Tess unwillingly becomes a victim to Alec’s inhumane, violent and aggressive sexual advances. Alec, always the master of opportunities, takes advantage of her while alone in the woods and proceeds to rape Tess. Tess has fallen subject to the crueler side of human nature as Alec seizes upon her vulnerability. After this sexual violation and corruption of innocence, Tess flees home.
Although she has escaped the trap of the sexually rapacious Alec for the time being, her circumstance is similar to that of a wounded animal, her blood of innocence has been released. At this time Hardy gives reference to Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucre ce, “where the serpent hisses the sweet birds song.” Tess is undoubtedly a victim of male idealism and society. Her lack of understanding over such matters only increases the guilt that already embodies her. To add further to her shame she chances upon a holy man who paints exerts from the bible around the countryside. In red accusatory letters she reads “THY, DAMNATION, SLUMBER ETH, NOT” and is horrified to think how relevant it is to her recent misfortunes. Tess at this stage is a victim to her own self-conscience; she becomes a recluse trapped within her home, while in reality she has broken no law of nature.
Returning to work in the field, Tess witnesses the rabbits forced further into shelter as the cornrows in which they dwell are reaped. This is symbolic of Tess’s own situation as she is being separated little by little from family and friends and more importantly from her own childhood innocence. The baby she has baptized as Sorrow dies, his name being an indication of the anguish that has taken place within Tess due to the circumstances of his conception. It also epitomizes what is going to take place in the rest of her sorrowful life. In an attempt to start her life anew, Tess decides to move away from the seclusion of Marlott to Talbot hays, where no one will know of her past.
... cannot forgive Tess; he gives her ... Angel tells Tess about an affair he had with an older woman in London, and Tess tells Angel about her history with Alec. Tess forgives Angel, but Angel ... having been converted to Christianity by Angel's father, the Reverend Clare. Alec and Tess are each shaken by their ...
Although filled with natural optimism, Tess’s past has already begun to weave the fatalistic web that will trap her like a fly and from which the ravenous spider of chaotic doom will draw all of her life’s animation out. Talbothay’s Dairy is the phase of Tess’s life in which she experiences her only period of sheer happiness. At times this happiness is obstructed by mental hesitations pertaining to her purity and righteousness. Here one can see that in an abstracted form the way society has entrapped Tess by its assertions of what is supposedly morally correct. “Like a fascinated bird”, Tess is drawn into the wild and overgrown garden by the sound of Angel Clare’s harp playing. Hardy has likened Tess to an animal, symbolizing the eminent disaster to follow.
Tess is trapped once again. On this occasion she is bound to Angel by ideological fetters. Tess is transformed in Angel’s sight to.” … a visionary essence of woman – a whole sex condensed into one typical form.” A spiritual, ideal relationship with Angel has replaced Tess’s material, physical relationship with Alec. Tess now becomes a victim of Angel’s idealization. Her individuality is becoming further suppressed by his imaginative and ethereal reasoning.
As the spring season progresses so does Angel and Tess’s romance, and eventually she succumbs to Angel’s charms. On their honeymoon, traditionally a joyous occasion, Tess confides in Angel the nature of her past. After hearing of Tess’s unfortunate past, Angel withdraws from reality by refusing to admit that she is the woman that he loved, “You were one person; now you are another.” Angel’s departure to Brazil leaves Tess as a widow. Angel ‘s physical rejection of Tess has subjected her to the cruelty of love.
Tess, a victim once again is now broken both spiritually and emotionally. It is at this point in the novel that she begins to come to the realization that her beauty is part of the cause of her destruction. In answer to this she dons her oldest field gown, covers half her face with a handkerchief, and snips off her eyebrows to “keep off these casual lovers.” Unfortunately for Tess she has come to this realization to late. She now is unable to save herself from Alec’s lustful actions and Angel’s idealized reasoning. The potent tragedy of Tess’s life is that her decisions have always been made with good and pure intentions, but have resulted in damaging consequences.
... defeat these upcoming events so he can move forward in life. Past the dark clouds in the distance there is a bright ... the person and stay with him throughout his life. The boat also has an angel carved in the front, which faces forward ... the man is currently having troubled times, but the Guardian Angel is there to help with the expectation that troubled times ...
Tess is undoubtedly a victim as misery punctuates her life. Tess is a victim of circumstance in that her individuality makes little difference to her fate. She is a victim of society in the sense that she is a scapegoat of narrow-mindedness among her fellow man. She is a victim of male ideology on the grounds that her powers of will 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.”.