Tess says, Once victim, always victim thats the law. In the light of this remark, explore ways in which Hardy presents Tesss experiences in Tess of the DUrbervilles.

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Tess says, ‘Once victim, always victim – that’s the law.’

In the light of this remark, explore ways in which Hardy presents Tess’s experiences in Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Thomas Hardy wrote "Tess of the D’Urbervilles" in 1891 during the height of the Victorian ideals where society was restrictive to individuals and appeared controlling to its members. Tess is a modern character, who is the easiest victim of circumstance, society and male idealism. She fights the hardest fight yet is destroyed by her ravaging self-destructive sense of guilt, life denial and the cruelty of two men. Tess Durbeyfield is a victim of external and incomprehensive forces. Passive and yielding, unsuspicious and fundamentally pure, she suffers a weakness of will and reason, struggling against a fate that is too strong for her.

It is primarily the death of the horse, Prince, the Durbeyfield's main source of livelihood that commences the web of circumstance that envelops Tess. Tess views herself as the cause of her families economic downfall, "Nobody blamed Tess as she blamed herself... she regarded herself in the light of a murderess."  The use of ‘nobody’ at the beginning of the sentence emphasises the extent of the guilt Tess feels since she believes that she is responsible for the loss of her family’s livelihood. As Anne Mickelson persuasively argues Tess is, “trained from childhood to fit herself for an inferior role, [and] she becomes early in life a prisoner to her sense of responsibility and duty to family.”It is these family responsibilities that convince her to go and visit the D’Urbervilles which is the cause for the destruction for her life. She dedicates her whole life to her family by simply listening to her mother and visiting the D’Urbervilles, as the event that occurred there changes her whole life. The imagery at this point in the novel shows how distraught and guilt ridden Tess is as she places her hand upon Prince's wound in a futile attempt to prevent the blood loss, “with the only result that she became splashed from face to skirt with the crimson drops”. This imagery is equivalent to a photographic proof - a lead-up to the events that will shape Tess's life and the inevitable "evil" that also, like the ‘crimson blood’ cannot be stopped. The ‘crimson’ takes on sinister connotations as it is a violent act of penetration foreshadowing the loss of Tess’s virginity. The symbolic fact that Tess ‘regarded herself in the light of a murderess’ is an insight into the murder that she will eventually commit and is also a reference to the level of guilt that now consumes her. We see how fate plays a major role in the tragic downfall of Tess as fate was the cause of Prince’s death, and this coupled with her sense of duty, eventually results in Tess’s acquaintance of Alec.

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Her parents, aware of her beauty, view Tess as an opportunity for future wealth and coupled with the unfortunate circumstance of Prince's death urge Tess to venture from the 'engirdled and secluded region' of Marlott to seek financial assistance from the D’Urbervilles in nearby Trantridge. Marlott is representative of Tess as she too is ‘secluded’ from the dangers of men like Alec in this village. The remote, untouched virgin land has not yet been destroyed by the industrialisation of London and similarly Tess’s innocence and wholesomeness is protected by the ‘engirdled’ village which she is naturally a part of. Here, ...

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While this essay contains lots of interesting information it lacks focus and clarity. It could be improved in the following ways: - by making a clear plan before beginning to write, in which each paragraph directly tackles the question set. - by including a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph which relates back to the question and gives the reader a clear sense of how the argument of the essay is developing. - by quoting from the text rather than the critics, and by ensuring that all quotations from secondary sources are acknowledged, and fully understood!