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Thomas Hardy's use of Imagery in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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Introduction

Hardy uses imagery in Tess of D?Urbervilles for a number of things including; to foreshadow upcoming events, accentuate Tess?s purity, and to represent characters hidden personalities. It is to allow the reader to have a secondary understanding of the novel as it goes on. Hardy uses imagery to foreshadow upcoming events which in turn creates a sense of dramatic irony to add a sense of foreboding and ominousness. In phase I, during Princes death, Hardy uses violent, sexual imagery in the line ?The pointed shaft of the cart had entered the breast of the unhappy Prince? which can be analysed to foreshadow Tess?s rape. This is due to what could be described as sexual language; ?Pointed Shaft? and ?breast? but also the choice of wording in ?Unhappy Prince? is important because it is an odd choice as the horse is dying. This is just like Tess? rape as she is unhappy but doesn?t necessarily try to stop it occurring. ...read more.

Middle

Once again, in Phase I, following Princes death, Hardy uses the line ?Tess?s white dress, covered in crimson blood, she looked whiter than the road?. This is Hardy saying that although on the outside, Tess is tainted and ruined: ?Covered in crimson blood? underneath that she is still wearing a ?White dress? and is ?Whiter than the road.? Hardy is already defending Tess?s purity even though we haven?t even got to her rape scene yet, which is already creating a feeling of sympathy for Tess from the reader. To follow on from this point, just before her rape with Alec, she is described as a ?White muslin figure he had left upon the dead leaves.? This shows the reader that Tess is still pure and Alec knows this yet still does what he is about to do. Therefore allowing the reader to empathise with the character of Tess and question here own moral standing on the issue of virginity. ...read more.

Conclusion

This adds a twist to the plot as the reader has their differences highlighted and therefore can tell it will not end well. In the case of Mercy Chant, she is described when we first meet her, as wearing a ?Starched, cambric morning gown? cambric is a white linen showing she is pure to the highest level as it is also expensive. The fact it is starched symbolises that she is up tight, reserved and very moral, allowing the reader to see she juxtaposes Tess as Mercy is clearly of a higher class too by the fact she has a ?Morning gown?. The reader can therefore make a judgement on Mercy, but also on Angel?s parents for suggesting her as a suitable suitor when Angel really loves a normal peasant girl in the form of Tess. To conclude, Hardy uses imagery throughout the novel to suggest underlying meanings to the reader to enable a second depth and therefore a more interesting read. He uses it to help analyse characters and to foreshadow upcoming events which drive the suspense and pessimism of the ovel. ...read more.

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