A Cause Analysis of the Tragedy of Tess in Tess of the d’Urbervilles毕业论文
2. Demonstration——————————————————————————– 3
2.1. Social environment contributing to Tess’s tragedy ————————————3
2.1.1 The general social background of the novel——————————————-3
2.1.2 Hypocritical capitalistic morality and unequal legal system ————————3
2.2 Family background leading to Tess’s tragedy ——————————————-4
2.2.1 The impoverishment and decay of Tess’s family as small farmers —————-4
2.2.2 The ignorance and hypocrisy of Tess’s parents —————————————4
2.3 The weaknesses in Tess’s character——————————————————-5
2.3.1 One side of Tess’s dual character: resistance to Alec ——————————–6
2.3.2 The other side of Tess’s dual character: compromise to Clare———————-7
2.4 Influences of male characters –– Alec and Clare —————————————8
2.4.1 Alec, the representative of the evil force ———————————————-8
2.4.2 Clare, the defender of the traditional morality—————————————-9
A Cause Analysis of the Tragedy of Tess in Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Thomas Hardy (1840 — 1928) is one of the representatives of English critical realism at the turn of the 19th century. He is famous for novels which depict characters fighting against their environments.
Hardy was born in the county of Dorset, England in 1840. This natural environment becomes the main environment in many of Hardy’s works. His father was a stonecutter, but likes music. His parents paid much attention to Hardy’s education. In his childhood, he received the education for theology. But when he grew up, he turned to study literature. Hardy left school and became an architect’s apprentice in 1856. And then he went to London and became a postman, later a building draftsman in 1862. Also during this period, he took advanced courses for language in London University and began his literary career. His literary career began with poetry. But due to lack of money to publish his poems, he had no choice but to change to novel creation. His first novel Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and the celebrated work was his fourth novel Far from Madding Crowd in 1874. From then on, he dropped construction industry and devoted to novel creation.
There were nearly 20 novels created in Hardy’s life. The most famous novels are Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Jude the Obscure (1896), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886). Hardy’s works reflects the changes of society, economy, politics, and moral traditions when the hypocritical bourgeoisies invaded the countries in Britain. His novels especially expose women’s tragic life and hypocrisy of bourgeois morals, legal systems and religions. His works not only inherits the great tradition of British realism, but also pioneers the way for 20th century British literature.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles can be regarded as one of the greatest tragedies in fictions in the history of English literature. Although Thomas Hardy mainly writes about the common people in Wessex, southwestern part of England, he shows grandeur and dignity in his tragedies similar to what we find in Greek tragedy. And his grave and elaborate style makes great contributions to the tragic sense of life. Thomas Hardy is remarkable for his tremendous power of producing tragedies comparable to classic tragedies.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles is a world-shaking novel of Hardy, which tells us the tragic life story of a beautiful country girl named Tess. Tess is a poor peasant girl. Sent by her mother to claim kindred with a more prosperous branch of the D’Urbervilles family, she is seduced by the young master of the house, Alec and has to return home in disgrace. After giving birth to a baby who died in infancy, she goes to work as wage-laborer at a dairy farm at Talbothays. There does she meet Angel Clare, son of a clergyman, and he falls in love with her and gets married with her. On the wedding night, Tess and Clare tell each other about their pasts. And Clare, after hearing Tess’s confession, leaves her abruptly for Brazil. Poverty forces Tess to seek for work and she works for a long time at a capitalist farm where she is insulted and oppressed by the master. Then the news of her father’s death and the expulsion of her family from their cottage drive her to seek for assistance from Alec. Alec, now a preacher, soon resumes his former illicit relations with her. Angel Clare returns repentant and is ready to be reconciled to Tess, but to find that her living with Alec hinders her from returning to him. She kills Alec and then is speedily arrested, tried and hanged.
This novel becomes one of the greatest works in the late Victorian era, because it boldly exposes hypocritical moral in the capitalist society and condemns capitalism in the late 19th century which has caused impoverishment and decay of small farmers in rural Britain. Research the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles carefully can let us know the view of morality and ethics in the hypocritical bourgeoisies in Britain’s Victoria era. Tess’s tragedy is due to the moral root of society and the deep-rooted opinion of female chastity and the opinion that male is the center of the world. This paper aims to analyze the causes leading to Tess’s tragedy, which can be classified into four major reasons: the social environment, the family environment, the weaknesses in Tess’s character and the influences of male characters.