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

Tess Is Only Partly To Blame For Her Own Tragic Decline. Powerful External Pressures, Social, Environmental and Supernatural Drive Her Inexorably Towards Her Cruel Fate - Agree or disagree.

Extracts from this document...


I definitely agree with the above comment. From the beginning of the novel 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' by Thomas Hardy, it is clear that the main character, Tess, is not going to have an easy life. She is deliberately targeted by cruel "Immortals" as their sadistic plaything. This is symbolized during the club dance, where Tess is "one of the white company" but is the only one to have a bright "red ribbon" in her hair. The mark of blood is on her from the start. Whilst Tess is going to market she accidentally kills the family's horse. Her own guilt for this accidental death is the first stage in a long series of incidents leading to Tess's tragic death at the end of the novel. Social and environmental pressures rank high on the list of causes of Tess's tragedy. In the late 19th century there were many changes taking place in rural England. The advances achieved as a result of the Industrial Revolution meant that even in the countryside farming was becoming mechanized and there were fewer manual labour jobs for the simple peasant people to do. This meant many people had to leave their town where they had spent most of their lives to go and find work. So, for example, the Durbeyfields' departing from Marlott after the death of "Sir John", was only part of a greater rural upheaval. ...read more.


This is another clear example of how the environment plays a role in dictating Tess's course of life. In such a fruitful and picturesque Tess and Angel have no choice but to fall in love. At this point in the novel fate takes over. Tess feels she should confess all her past sins to Angel but she slips the note in whish she had written all her past history under his door and it goes beneath the carpet. At this time I think it is safe to say that Tess's decline is imminent. It almost seems as if she was born to be tortured. Anything in her life so far that could have gone wrong, has. The death of her horse, getting pregnant and now falling in love again with someone who is not as Angelic and perfect as he seems to be, proves this. It is not surprising then that she marries Angel and cannot keep the knowledge of her past inside her. Sexual double standards come into play again when Angel admits to experiencing a "48 hours dissipation with a stranger", an older woman. Is this not worse than what Tess did as she was taken advantage of and did not willingly partake in the sexual encounter with Alec? Nevertheless, Angel's social snobbery and Victorian prudery, which hadn't really been apparent before, stops him from being able to face up to the fact that everyone can make mistakes and that Tess is still the same person he fell in love with. ...read more.


Following the pattern of the rest of the book, Angel arrives "too late" to save Tess and in her na�ve way of looking at things the only way to secure her happiness with her husband Angel is to kill Alec. She seems to have no awareness of the sire consequences of her act. For a few days, during their doomed flight together, Angel and Tess enjoy some of the happiness that should have came earlier. But it is a doomed happiness, and Tess, with her streak of fatalism, realises it is too good to last. When they reach Stonehenge it is obvious that Tess's life of never ending pain and suffering will soon be over. Stonehenge is significant as it was a place for sacrifices in pagan times. The cruel "Immortals" have at last brought Tess to the place of sacrifice - they will soon end their sadistic "sport". I conclude that Hardy wrote this book to show that "individuals have no control over their lives, but are at the mercy of impersonal and inexorable forces", as stated in the resource notes to the Cambridge edition of the novel. From the beginning Tess's destiny was mapped out. She was born to suffer and eventually die. Tess was in the end a victim of the circumstances of late Victorian rural society, with all its cruel discrimination against erring females, but even more so of cruel supernatural forces who had marked her out as their victim from the beginning. ...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. Tess of the D'urbervilles - How far do you agree that Tess is responsible ...

    if he could get a parson but her dad refused as he feels ashamed of his daughter and doesn't want to help Tess then decided that this had to be done and that she would baptize the baby herself " I baptize thee in the name of the father, and

  2. Compare how Shakespeare and Hardy present the role of their tragic heroines within society ...

    Similarly, they found happiness with men whom both their families and societies considered unsuitable. Even though Tess is raped and violated by Alec D'Urberville, she is still obligated to marry him as he is the father of her child and through no fault of her own, she is now seen as 'impure' and tainted.

  1. Contrast the descriptions of Flint comb - Ash and Talbothays, showing How Hardy uses ...

    She now feels very lonely. Her baby, Sorrow, dies. In an attempt to a new beginning in life. Tess decides to move away from Marlott to Talbothays Dairy, where know one will know of her past. She has recovered fro her recent tragic experiences, she is a lot stronger and healed, and she is looking forward to the future.

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

    Alec also helped Tess and her family- true for the wrong reasons (in order to weaken Tess's resolve to reject him and make her feel obliged to him) but at least he took care of her. And whereas Alec is forcefully and physically destructive of Tess, Angel proves to be

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

    This hints that, while Ernestina may well have had a more expensive education, she has had a lot less experience of life, and is not as intelligent; described by Charles as "a pretty little thing, yet a shallow little thing".

  2. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - review

    We see that the horse (Ironically named Prince) was killed by a mailman's cart, as they had collided. A shaft from the mailman's cart had gone through Prince's chest, killing him instantly. This is a very symbolic moment, since the horse was very important to the family, as it was all they had.

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

    "Tess was indignant and ashamed. She no longer minded the loneliness of the way and the lateness of the hour; her one object was to get away from the whole crew as soon as possible'. Tess did not care if she had to walk home alone but she just wanted to get out of there.

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

    His love for Tess may be abstract, as we guess when he calls her "Daughter of Nature" or "Demeter." Tess may be more an archetype or ideal to him than a flesh and blood woman with a complicated life. Angel's ideals of human purity are too elevated to be applied to actual people: Mrs.

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