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Essay to compare how the theme of tragedy is portrayed in Daphne du Maurier's 'Jamaica Inn' with Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

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Dheep Matharu 11N Essay to compare how the theme of tragedy is portrayed in Daphne du Maurier's 'Jamaica Inn' with Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles', written by Thomas Hardy was first published in December 1891, with the full title of 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles, A Pure Woman faithfully presented'. The novel was set in the Victorian age in Dorset, a bleak country of sandy heaths and chalk downs in the Southwest of England. Hardy gave the countryside in the novel a fictional name of 'Wessex' and altered the names of the main places, to give them fictional names. However, Hardy's novel drew negative reactions from a number of early critics at the time and the first two firms that Hardy submitted the novel to rejected it due to the subject matter being too explicit, offensive and conflicting with Victorian morality. Daphne Du Maurier wrote 'Jamaica Inn' in October 1935. The novel was set and based upon an actual temperance house on the twenty-mile road between Bodmin and Launceston, on the coast of Cornwall, that existed during the time Daphne du Maurier wrote the novel. Although the existing place-names figure in the novel, Daphne had written it as if it had been set before 1815. Both authors are English and their novels are both set in England. The theme of tragedy plays a major role in both texts so my essay will be based on the comparison of how tragedy is portrayed in both texts. ...read more.


The first character to cause major tragedy in the novel "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is Alec, Tess's cousin. He does this by seducing her in a quiet wood after she rides with him, on their way home. Although it is not said, the scene of the wood depicts the seduction as turning into a rape. (Hardy was obliged to use different methods to get the message of it being a rape across because he had to make it less offensive). The narrator describes "darkness and silence ruled everywhere" in the wood while the seduction, or rather rape, by Alec takes place. He uses the descriptive words "darkness" and "silence" because the words express a terrible event occurring because "darkness" is a word often used to describe someone's soul that is evil and "silence" is often something that happens when a tragic event occurs. For example, when teachers shout at pupils, the noisy classroom the pupils are in falls absolutely silent under the great power and fear of the teacher at the time. I think the word "silence" is used to express the power Alec had over Tess during this vulnerable moment, when he seduces her. I think the word "darkness" is used to express the evil and darkness in Alec's soul as he takes advantage of a vulnerable woman after his cheek is in "contact" with hers. ...read more.


Additionally, both novels use symbols of tragedy, however, Hardy uses a lot more of them. There are several symbols of tragedy throughout the novel, much more than mentioned previously. The large amount of symbolic omens (for tragedy) that Hardy used can be related to the tragic events to explain why they take place. However, so much tragedy and symbols representing it make the novel quite unrealistic because it is quite difficult to believe that so much tragedy can follow one person. As du Maurier included fewer tragic events and symbols in the novel it is much more realistic that Hardy's novel. Finally, the narration du Maurier used in 'Jamaica Inn' does not emphasise the tragedy or even portray any, as it is Mary's perspective on the situation. Hardy, on the other hand used a set third person narration that comments on the tragedies and discusses which events caused more tragedy and how this is done. I thought this was very effective because the narrator appeared to have an opinion on the situation, which enables the reader to see the different points of view about the tragic events that occur during the novel. The immense amount of tragedy in 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles', compared to 'Jamaica Inn', makes the novel more unpredictable and compelling to read. This is why I think that Hardy's, 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' portrays a lot more tragedy and far better than du Maurier does in 'Jamaica Inn'. ...read more.

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