• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Compare George Eliot's treatment of religion in Middlemarch with Thomas Hardy's in Tess of the d'Urbervilles".

Extracts from this document...


"Compare George Eliot's treatment of religion in Middlemarch with Thomas Hardy's in Tess of the d'Urbervilles" As what now seems to be the throwback of a bygone era, religion was a massive issue at the time both of the novels I am looking at were written. There was much controversy surrounding the great 'catholic question' as well as many other doubts that were beginning to eat away at what was once such a dominant force. Religion in both Middlemarch and Tess is reflective of its situation at the time. But in both novels religion is treated very differently, used in diverse ways, in both the advancement of plot, but also where the authors own views on religion are concerned. In order to convey their views religion is not just used in its own form, but it is also represented through the characters, and in turn the characters are actually embodied by the religious route they choose, and the religion they follow. As a way of advancing plot lines religion is also employed, through deciding the fate of characters, or in terms of the whole society at the time. Both novels authors had specific views on the subject, and these are apparent when reading the novels, as they use them almost ...read more.


The religion at the time was Evangelicalism, a form of religion, which allowed people to sin, and as long as they repented they would not be doomed to the fearful kingdom of Hell. This however did not seem to be nearly enough for Eliot, who talks negatively of the lack of lenience shown towards any sensuous indulgence by the church, 'the Vincys had the readiness to enjoy, the rejection of all anxiety, and the belief in life as a merry lot, which made a house exceptional in most county towns at that time, when Evangelicalism had cast a certain suspicion as of a plague-infection over the few amusements which had survived in the provinces.' Her use of religion is also used to depict how the different characters see it. It is typical of Bulstrode, who was once a steadfast non-conformist that he is now a member of the established Anglican Church. Farebrother's liberal, humane approach to religion makes him a favourite character in the book. He and the Garths have been called a "moral centre" of the novel as they are shown to be clear about their principles, their limitations and are modest and warm-hearted. ...read more.


Such lack of sympathy makes us look critically at institutions that profess to be for human good but that have little to do with human needs or feelings. So we see how the two separate incidences canvas the growing disease of not only Hardy, but from a society in change, where religion is no longer on the untouchable pedestal it once was. It is still an indomitable force nonetheless, but it is beginning to come under scrutiny. It is also a criticism of Hardy that religion has been ruined by the people who wield it, such as Alec using it for purely selfish reasons making a mockery out of it, and also the local parson being overly strict with the laws and not showing any human compassion. Both authors have a strict stance on religion, and both utilise it to a large effect in their novels. Hardy seems far more damning of religion than Eliot, who although faltering in her faith still tries to upkeep some of the faith that is slowly being waned by the scientists and critics at the time. In neither book does it dominate though, something that shows it is no longer the all important force it once was even then. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Tess of the d'Urbervilles section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Tess of the d'Urbervilles essays

  1. Thomas Hardy said His Subtitle 'Pure Women' Caused more Debate Than Anything Else In ...

    "I didn't know - you ever sent them anything! ....I almost wish you had not - yes, I almost wish it? This suggests Alec is very manipulative because he chooses this moment to tell her which make she think that she will have to pay him back.

  2. Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) by Thomas Hardy.

    Durbeyfield and his wife decide to send Tess to the d'Urberville mansion, where they hope Mrs. d'Urberville will make Tess's fortune. In reality, Mrs. d'Urberville is no relation to Tess at all: her husband, the merchant Simon Stokes, simply changed his name to d'Urberville after he retired.

  1. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - review

    or even sneered upon; whereas those born in a higher class family with a higher class name would be respected all over and greeted very politely. Now at the exact moment in time, John Durbeyfield's daughter, Tess, was at the May dance with all the other girls dancing.

  2. Compare and contrast the depictions of financial insecurity and its effects in Tess of ...

    so devastating. Thoughts of a lofty life are brought crashing back down to earth as the reality of economic ruin are forced upon the Durbeyfield family. "'Tis all my doing - all mine!" the distracted girl cried, gazing intently at the spectacle.

  1. Tess of the d'Urbevilles: by Thomas Hardy

    just departed from a 'golden-era' of rural perfection, where there was no crime or pain, where everybody lived hand-in-hand, outdoors, at one with nature.

  2. Compare the ways in which the Writers of 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Tess of ...

    are accompanied by "laughter" and "applause" and that not a single voice is raised in objection. Nobody, not even the female academics demonstrably present, speaks up to counter Pieixoto's "unrepentantly sexist"2 comments. The misogyny of the new regime suggests that Gilead has in fact not "ended", at least not in

  1. How important is the use of irony in Thomas Hardy's poetry and in his ...

    This is truly ironic given that Hardy only realised he loved his wife after her death. This is a topic well covered in the 1912-13 love poems. Your Last Drive4, for example, describes his dead wife as a "dear ghost", whereas during life their relationship had disintegrated beyond repair.

  2. How does each author emphasise the differences between social and natural law and illustrate ...

    This is connected to the fresh and natural environment at the dairy farm. If this is compared to Flintcomb-Ash, where Tess was suffering from poverty and emotional distress, the land is described as 'a desolate drab', and again the connection is clear between Tess's situation and the landscape.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work