The Analysis of Tess’s Tragedy in Tess of the D’Urbervilles


校园英语·上旬 2017年5期


【Abstract】Tess of the DUrbervilles is one of the great works written by Thomas Hardy, which marks the peak of the critical realism at the turn of the 19th century. This novel tells us that Tess, a pure, kind and pretty country girl, becomes a criminal in the end due to many kinds of reasons. The causes of Tesss tragedy are varied from person to person at home and abroad. This paper discusses the reasons of Tesss tragedy from the perspective of attribution theory, including internal reasons and external reasons. By exploring the various reasons, this paper tries to analyze Tesss tragedy in a comprehensive way so as to reveal the deep reasons of Tesss Tragedy and aims to help people make a conclusion with comprehensive aspects so that we can solve the problem.

【Key words】Tess; Tragedy; Internal causes; External causes

1. Internal causes

1.1 Tesss weak point in character

Thomas Hardy thinks that the essence of Tesss tragedy lies in her weak point in character, that is to say, people are not only influenced by the environment but also influenced by their inner world-the character. The most important character of Tess is her kind heart and purity. However, these characters are easily distorted by the hypercritical and capital society. And her pursuit of purity and confession makes her away from the happiness.

1.2 Tesss rebellion

There are two conflicts in this novel. One is the small-scale peasant economy and the capitalism economy; the other is Tesss kindness and the hypercritical religion. Firstly, Tess is against the capitalism society. She is trying her best to save their poor family. Secondly, Tess is different from those girls who want to marry a rich person so that their fate can be changed. Hardy shapes the girl Tess—pretty and minded. she is not only responsible for her family but also consistent with these two lovers.

2. External causes

2.1 The influences of social environment

Tesss tragedy owns to the social environment firstly. The social tragedy is made by the contradiction between people and social environment. Tesss family is the real depiction of the poor family at that time. In the beginning of this novel, Tesss family is at the brisk of bankruptcy. Her father is a peddler, lazy and drunkard while her mother is a milk-maker, and they have seven children. Her poor family might be an auxiliary booster, sending her to the tragedy one step by one step.

2.2 The influence of social mortality

Tess struggles not only for the social power but also for the social mortality. Therefore, the social mortality is another reason for Tesss tragedy. On one hand, Angel is the representatives of newborn capitalist class whereas he holds some ideas of the traditional social mortality. He hates the rich girl, pursuing the thoughtful and pretty Tess, which manifests his loftiness and progress. However, in Angles inner heart, he still keeps the traditional moral standards. If we think that Alec is the direct cause for Tesss tragedy whereas Angle is an accomplice of Tesss tragedy.

2.3 The influence of religious concept

There are two principles in religions concept. One is the naturalism principle and the other is the religious concept in Victorians age. The naturalism thinks that men or women have the right to pursue their happiness, so, Tesss pursuit of her love and happiness is reasonable. But, according to the religious concept in Victorians age, Tess is not pure when she is the mistress of Alec, and she has no right to marry Angle. Tess lives in a deep-rooted religion society, so she can not avoid the influence of the religious concept at that time. Therefore, Tess is doomed to be the victim of these two moral and religious standards.

2.4 Other peoples influence

2.4.1 Alec DUrbervilles

As a new-born fop in the capitalist class, the rich and evil Alec plays a major role in Tesss tragedy. We all know that the rich Alec is a notorious fop and has the evil idea to Tess, the kind and pure girl. In order to carry his point, Alec has Tess in his caring in the chicken farm attempting to seduce her. Tess is totured not only by the physical persecution but also by the mental hurt. In the end, Tess reduces to Alecs mistress second time in order to support her family. She had lost all her hopes .

2.4.2 Angle Clare

If we say that Alecs hurt to Tess is in physical, which is not vital; but, Angles hurt to Tess is in mental, which is vital, even the direct causes for Tesss death. If Angle is not gone back, Tess wouldnt have caught by the police. She is still alive in the world even if in a desperate situation. From some degree, Angle is the direct cause for Tesss tragedy. On the one hand, she represents the new-born capitalist and smashes the traditional concept in some degree; on the other hand, he still has the traditional moral concept. He itself is a contradiction.

2.4.3 Males domination of female

Women have the lower social status in the Victorians age, especially the married women. They regard women as the attachment of men. So they lost their freedom. Women are not protected by the social power not only because of their weakness, but always teases and harasses by the men in the public. So, male is everything. Male dominates females fate. Female can not realize their right at that time. There is no doubt that Tess is one of the victims during the Victorians age. Alec seduces and rapes Tess, but he do not accept any punishment, even if he is killed by Tess, but Tess is hanged by the police.

3. Conclusion

This thesis is a detailed analysis of Tesss tragedy in Tess of the DUrbervilles from the perspective of attribution theory. So, we can know that Tesss tragedy is not the accidental reasons, but the trend in the Victorians age. Tess is only one of the vivid representatives of this age, and the deep reason of this tragedy is the historical background itself.


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