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To what extent is Tess a tragic heroine? Thomas Hardy - Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  • Essay length: 1470 words
  • Submitted: 02/09/2003
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GCSE Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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To what extent is Tess a tragic heroine?

'I have not been able to put on paper all that she is, or was, to me,' wrote Thomas Hardy of Tess. 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' was published in 1891, amid a whirlwind of controversy, under its subtitle 'A Pure Woman'. 'Tess' was Hardy's 14th novel and deals with the life of Tess Durbeyfield, a country-born girl and the ordeals she faces throughout her life. The novel deals with such issues as family status, morality, religion, illegitimacy and, eventually, justice. Earlier in his life, Thomas Hardy witnessed the public execution of a woman found guilty of murdering her husband. This event had a huge impact on Hardy for it made him realise just how unfair his society was in matters of gender and social status. Victorian society believed that women were 'inferior' and incapable of strong emotion and passion. Through Tess, Hardy shows women as rounded, 3-dimensional characters, giving us a perfect overview of their psyche, emotions and opinions.

The works of Thomas Hardy are noted for their tragic content. Throughout the course of history, tragedy has infiltrated all areas of the arts and literature. Tragic theatre was popular

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