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

Discuss "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" as a Tragedy

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" as a Tragedy Although there is a tendency in 20th century writers, and literary critics, to approach tragedy as a high and daunting ideal, to attempt a tragedy in the 19th century was a frequent undertaking, and it is not surprising that, given Hardy's brooding and unflinching intellect, the genre has a powerful presence in his stories. If his success is finest and most subtle n tragedy, he had attempted and succeeded before, and his experiments continued after "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". Hardy came to the writing of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" with a full head of steam after deciding about six years earlier that Wessex was his subject and tragedy his genre, and in the midst of a reading and thinking program that made him aware of the latest developments in late-Victorian intellectual cogitation. Some of the events associated with the cogitations of that age are social and monetary exploitation of down-and-out peasantry by "nouveau riche gentry", terrorism by arrogance, intellectual adventures without a clear sense of purpose or of social obligation; larger social, industrial and agricultural movements that proceed without concern for those persons most materially and physically viscerally affected (threshers, Swede diggers); the vacuity and haplessness of social agencies such as the Church presumably set up to help those in need, but which instead work doctrinally and careeristically, and neo-complexity of all, relativism and subjectivity. ...read more.

Middle

The author himself - Hardy - seems to be interested in the historical perspective of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". Tess is a daughter of the once influential D'Urbervilles. Violence was a part of the life of the D'Urbervilles and when they were extremely powerful they used to abuse young women. But history repeats itself, and there is also a bitter irony of it. Today, Tess, the descendent of the ancient D'Urbervilles is abused by others. History is repeating itself but only the role has been reversed. How eloquent the irony of history is! In chapter - 59, it is mentioned that ".......the d'Urbervilles knights and dames slept on in their tombs unknowing." This famous statement, added in revision, underscores the centrality to the novel of the ancient D'Urbervilles. Hardy has a serious use for the ancient family - a reminder both of time and of cyclic occurrence - but also f the irrelevance of the D'Urbervilles in the modern world. The individual and intellectual aspects interpenetrate and overlap with each other. Tess's tragedy has both its individual and intellectual aspects. The foundation of Hardy's idea of tragedy of the individual pervades the novel. Although now Tess is simply a maiden and perhaps his D'Urberville background is also of little importance. ...read more.

Conclusion

But Angel cannot realize it. He cannot discover the depth of Tess' love, nor its honesty. So he also suffers. She kills Alec because he was an obstacle - a man between Angel and herself - in the way to achieving her identity. This killing is a heroic deed, no doubt, if we consider the reason behind it. Tess assumes a heroic grandeur when she utters in Chapter - 58, "What must come will come". Upon awakening at Stonehenge to find police there, she echoes Aeschylus in saying, "It is as it should be" (Chapter - 59) and also in her last words in the novel, "I am ready." (Chapter - 59) Towards the end Hardy provides a context for Tess's climactic suffering and tragedy obviously, directly associating his rural, quotidian sufferer with the mythological Ixion being punished in "hell" by being tied to a revolving wheel. (It is interesting that the Ixonean wheel is one of Schopenhauer's favorite classical images.) Society has contributed much to Tess's tragedy. It is always hostile to "aristocrats" of Tess's like. Hardy, Tess's creator, and perhaps only a few sensitive readers will realize the degree of cruelty and harshness committed against Tess, who is held with high esteem in their hearts, "Poor wounded name! My bosom as a bed shall lodge thee." [W. Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona] ...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 'A Pure Woman' Caused More Debate Than Anything Else. ...

    she couldn't tell them this is another sign of purity and goes off home. One day she is working when she bumps into Alec who has converted into preaching in a barn. Alec is shown as a hypocrite. Alec has new found faith doesn't last he becomes fascinated with Tess again and goes after her.

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

    concept of choice, however fragile: this is what enables both Ofglen and Offred's predecessor to commit suicide rather than be hanged at the Wall. At the end, Offred allows herself the 'option' of several different outcomes ("to take things into my own hands")

  1. Symbolism in Tess of the D'urbervilles

    They are hard working people normally, and Hardy puts across the opinion that he thinks they are better than urban dwellers. One example of rustic characters being caring and understanding in the book is when Tess is working in the fields, and Liza-Lu brings her baby to her when they are resting and eating.

  2. Tess of the D'Urbervilles- A Pure Woman.' Who or what does Hardy blame for ...

    Needless to say, Alec does not take the news very well and proceeds to cast insults toward Tess and of Angel. Tess, in a fit of emotional passion kills him melodramatically with a knife and flees. Angel and Alec have very different attitudes toward Tess.

  1. Compare and Contras the presentation of Tess Durbeyfield in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" and ...

    Many characters in the "French Lieutenants' Woman" believe Sarah to not be of sound mind. In contrast we gather most of the opinions of Tess through Hardy, "her bouncing handsome womanliness". A great majority of the descriptions of Tess are referring to her physical attributes, which of course is her downfall.

  2. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - review

    Tess asks her mother if she should go and fetch her father but her mother disagrees and says that she will go herself. She told Tess to put away the Complete Fortune Teller; which her mother used for guidance. Her coat and hat was ready for her, so she picked them up, and left.

  1. Examine how Hardy uses setting to explore related themes and issues.

    dramatically but effectively in the scene where Tess has killed Alec in Sandbourne. "The oblong white ceiling, with this scarlet blot in the midst", this seems to suggest that Tess who still could be considered a pure woman by many, has blotted her once clean soul - the white ceiling

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

    are the lineal representative of the ancient and knightly family of the d'Urbervilles". Her mother sends her eldest daughter, Tess to beg for money from relations with the obvious desire that Tess wed the rich Mr D'Uberville. Tess listens to her mother because she knows that if she doesn't go to beg for money her family will suffer.

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