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Compare how Shakespeare and Hardy present the role of their tragic heroines within society in 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Tess of

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Introduction

Compare how Shakespeare and Hardy present the role of their tragic heroines within society in 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'? Shakespeare's Juliet, of 'Romeo and Juliet' and Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' share many characteristics which make them tragic heroines. Their individual battles with their societies, and their distorted moral codes and prejudices, toughens their spirits and reinforces their determination to succeed and reach their personal goals. In their contemporary societies, where women were generally oppressed and marginalised within literature, these strong female characters were seen as controversial and divisive. Although Juliet and Tess are characters from disparate backgrounds and societies, there are remarkable similarities between the two both in their characters and the way they are seen within society. The tragic heroine is often the most powerful within literature. One of the reasons for the interest in women is their interesting and complicated role within society. Many societies and cultures regard women in high esteem, however, at the same time, they are often treated unfairly and indifferently by their societies. Juliet Capulet from Shakespeare's play 'Romeo and Juliet' and Tess Derbyfield from Thomas Hardy's novel 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' are prime examples of tragic heroines. They symbolise her constant spirit and determination and are typical products of their authors and also the times and societies in which they were created. ...read more.

Middle

Although they were aware that she detested Alec D'Urberville, they still encouraged the idea of marriage between the two. Quote. Similarly, Juliet's parents encouraged a loveless marriage between her and the County Paris. Quote. In both texts, the parents' desires were fuelled by social advance rather than the happiness and welfare of their daughters. Although the 16th and 19th century societies were relatively similar in their views and treatment of women, there are significant differences in the way literary representations of women were received. By the late 19th century, women writers were much more acceptable than in Shakespeare's time, when there were virtually no female writers. Though both Shakespeare and Hardy are male writers, presenting the female point of view, Shakespeare's position was much more restricted. The playwright had to keep his characters conservative and primarily acceptable to the upper classes and royalty inevitably present in his audiences. By the 19th century, the female voice was strongly established within literature, with successful female writers such as the Bront� sisters and Louisa May Alcott. To be described as 'tragic heroines', in one sense, is correct. Both Juliet and Tess die for their love and personal beliefs. However, 'The Dictionary of Literary Terms' says; 'The tragic hero will most effectively evoke our pity and terror if (s)he is neither thoroughly good nor thoroughly evil but a mixture of both.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Tess Main similarities between the two heroines, 1. Star-crossed lovers make their own rules. Although they both fall for apparently the wrong people, (not the one who she had sex with, and the one from the wrong family- not the prince) 2. Sacrifice their own happiness for other people 3. Not appreciated by society. Main differences between the two heroines, 1. Juliet is rich, like Shakespeare? Tess is poor, like Hardy. Purpose and meaning of characters- social novel- acts as a general criticism of society and its attitude to these women. Other characters' learning from the tragic heroines highlights the message and purpose intended... (Angel Clare and the Montagues and Capulets) When Tess was published it received mixed criticism- challenged many accepted Victorian assumptions about society, sexual morality, and religion. Sold well as it was subject of scandal. Shakespeare also challenged the moral assumptions of his society but not to as great a degree. Commissioned by/ shown to royalty? - risky? Why did Shakespeare write 'Romeo and Juliet'? Social novels, social commentary/ comment. Writers trying to communicate their social views through drama and the publication of a serial in a magazine. Tess is a metaphor for all of nature and through her, Hardy protests the take over of technology and the disappearance of country traditions. Hardy's strong preference for the natural values of the country over urban life, and for the peasant class over the middle classes. Intro- general point of the book Introduce similarities and differences Detail of points Form, lang, genre, structure Conclusion ...read more.

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