Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

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Otázka: Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a): Nela Zahr



Thomas Hardy

He was born on the 2nd June 1840 in Upper Bockhampton, England, in the county of Dorset.

The previous profession of Thomas Hardy was an architect. He was author of short stories and poet. His works have a naturalistic character. He criticizes the English society his novels are sad and often end up tragically. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. In the house near Dorchester, which was designed and built by his brother. Here he wrote the novel Tess of the D’urbervilles.


Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Tess of the D’urbervilles is novel and tragedy. The book has 592 pages.


The book contains phases:

  • The Maiden
  • Maiden No More
  • The Rally
  • The Consequence
  • The Woman Pays
  • The Convertt
  • Fulfilment


“The topic of this novel is about unhappy choice because Tess D’urbervilles is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with wealthy D’Urbervilles and seeks a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.”


Main characters:

Tess D’urbervilles:

  • She is a 16-year-old simple country girl who is going through sexual development and experiencing her first love as a heroine of the novel. Tess is beautiful and irresistible to men.


Alec Stoke-d’Urberville:

  • Although being friendly at first, Alec was only using his charisma to makes Tess fall for him. Alec is clearly the bad guy in this novel-after all, he rapes our heroine and pretty much ruins her life. And yet it’s hard to read him as totally evil. He did the worst pain to her. He physically tortured her.


Angel Clare:

  • He is intelligent, polite, young man from middle-class, he had very good status in the community. Angel Clare grows in the novel. He changes from wannabe rebel to a man who willing to risk everything for the woman he loves.


A summary of a plot:

The story of Tess D’Urbervill might be summarized in several sentences.

Tess D’Urbervill is born into a poor, rural, southern English family of eight, in the village of Marlott, Wessex. She is educated until 6 class.

Her father John was so lazy and he loved to drink something all the time. One day he realized he is descendant of a famous and rich families D’Urbervill. There was a family nearby that Tess could say “Hi, I am your relative” John thought she can get some their money, but the true is family D’Urbervill just have been renamed their name to make them look nobility.

When Tess met Alec she had a bad luck, because Alec was womanizer and Tess was appealing young lady.


Alec was very polite for the first time he offered work to her. Tess is only 16. Offered to take care of the excentric old lady’s pet, she cannot refuse, her family needs the money. After few months in phases Maiden No More Alec seduces her and rapes her in the forest.

Tess leaves the D’Urberville estate to be with her family again, and winds up pregnant. The baby is born but quickly succumbs to death. She spent approximately one year closed at home.

She thought everything was just her own fault. Her life was so bad, because she can’t be married she was not virgin yet. Tess left home to farm she was there like milker. Tess started to be happy and she has been all but forgotten.


On the farm was a priest’s son he was a young, well educated, decent man. He disagree with his father’s religious views and he studies at the landlord. Every girl from village wants to be his wife, but suddenly he felt in love with Tess. She is the most beautiful girl and he offers her a marriage, but she cannot be his wife, because of her past. Tess’s mother advised her “Don’t tell him true about your virginity and past”.


Tess refuses his requests for an engagement, saying she’s not worth him and her past would make him not love her. He pleads with her and tells her it’s not the case. Finally, she agrees and the two are wed. That night, they tell each other their deepest, darkest secrets. Angel admits to two drunken nights of debauchery, which Tess forgives him for, and Tess tells him the story about Alec and the child. Angel decides Tess’s sins are too great and leaves to Brazil to clear his head. Tess returns home, but in the 19th century it is a sin. Husband abandoned wife. So, she trying to find work on another farm.


Tess then embarks upon a long journey of trying to pay penance for her sins by doing difficult manual works. Her letters to Angel go unanswered, but she still blames herself. When she finally hits rock bottom, she goes to appeal to Angel’s family for money, although her pride never lets her go through with her plan. On her way home, she meets a street preacher, who is none other than a reformed Alec D’Urberville, although it’s pretty apparent that his faith is transparent. Tess tells him that she had had a child and it died, and Alec proceeds to follow her around and asks her to marry him repeatedly, saying he’s her true husband because he raped her they had consummated their love. Finally, she gives in because she hasn’t heard from Angel and her family is in dire straits and is living in a graveyard. Alec supports her and her family.


Angel finally realized that Tess was not responsible for her sins and decides to come back for her, only to learn she’s living with Alec. Tess is so distraught knowing that Angel finally came back for her (she never stopped loving him and blaming herself), that she kills Alec and she and Angel go on the lam. Tess is finally apprehended at Stonehenge, and is soon put to death.

Faithful Angel in the last scene, as Tess wished, left with her sister … who has all her good qualities without her mistakes.


My opinion:

At the first instance I hate Alec and I hate Tess’s parents, because they send her for money and when Alec raped her they didn’t help her a lot. It’s so sad, because she was just 16 years old. Sometimes Hardy describe her like clever girl from nobility, but sometimes describe her like stupid girl without own opinion. I like that Tess did not end her life, and she always found the job she tried and she hope. But I hate Angel and Alec they destroyed her life.

After this two experience with men she started to be crazy, but I think it was because of them.  The book is so courageous, because it was in Victorian England.

The book is not my “cup of tea” and sometimes is too hard to translate word, because there was old England English.

When I finished this book I’m left with a huge question mark above my head…


Conclusion and recommendation:

This book is really about timing, it affects us all, meet someone at the wrong time or go north instead of south, your life can end badly. Ordinary events, can change our destiny. Timing is everything…

This is one of the most depressing, pointless novels I’ve ever read in my life.

If you like tragedy like Romeo and Juliet you must read this book, but if you are like me and you love happy ends don’t read the story of Tess D’Urberville.

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