Tess of The d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Capitalism from feudal land-owning system
Tess of The d'Urbervilles is regarded as a masterpiece of English prose. It draws readers' attention again and again throughout the history of English novel. In this novel, Hardy depicts the way of strengthening capitalism from feudal land-owning system. Hardy was born in 1840 at the rural Dorsetshire. Hardy's most famous novels are; The Poor Man and the Lady(18672), Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878)5, The Mayor of the Caster-bridge (1886)6, The Tess of The d'Urbervilles (1891).
Tess of The d'Urbervilles is undoubtedly the best novel by Thomas Hardy. According to the critics, Hardy has a belief in predestined. Hardy believes that man can't learn from their previous mistakes, but in this case, Charles Dickens was the opposite, believes that man has opportunities to learn from his previous mistakes. Thomas Hardy died on 11 January, 1928.
Tess Durbeyfield, a country-poor-beautiful girl living with her family in a village named Marlott of Hardy's imaginary Wessex. Tess's father, John Durbeyfield, a middle-aged-poor man knows to a passerby; Thingram that he just learned that he is the last lineal of d'Urbervilles family which was the most aristocratic family in England. Hearing this provoking news, Tess father decided to send his young, beautiful and innocent daughter to a wealthy branch of the D'Urbervilles family for hoping some sorts of kinship to get money or economical help.
When Tess reached the wealthy d'Urbervilles family she appeared very pretty and womanly for her young age to Alec who has a licentious and lustful Victorian character. Alec was the only one son of the rich d'Urbervillesfamily. When Alec likes Tess lustfully and tries to seduce herseveral times, Tess just hates him. Ironically, one day in a jungle, he gets a chance to rape sleeping Tess under a green wood tree. After a few days later, Tess gets pregnant and leaves Alec's home. She comes to her poor parents inMarlott. After returning home,Tess admits to her mother what happened with Alec and she asks her mother why she did not warn her about the danger of man. Here inMarlott, she started to do some odd jobs here and there to make money for supporting her needyfamily. While at home, Tess has secluded herself from her relatives and the villagers due to give birth an illegal child. Thereafter, her child falls in sick and a few days later it dies. She buries her child in the churchyard very secretly for salvation.
After a few months later, she leaves Marlott to an unknown place in order to forget her ugly and painful past but she could not do it. There she manages a work at Talbothays dairy farm; a beautiful place of the countryside which is so far from London. She gets little bit relaxed here because nobody knows her. Her days are passing in this farm well but a human being isnaturally too close to love and nature. By fate, in this dairy she meets with a very gentleman named Angel Clare who is from a very much aristocratic family. Gradually, they come in close and many times Angel tries to propose her for getting marriage, but Tess refuses it several times and tries to tell Angel about her past but Angel does not give her any chance. Angel tells her that you are the most beautiful and decent girl whom I have ever seen. Angel wishes to have a wife like Tess because she knows how to maintain a dairy farm as Angel comes here to learn about the dairy farm. Angel has a desire to build a dairy farm in Latin America. At last, they fall in a deep love and decide to marry each other.
One day they get married and at their wedding night, Angel tells that he had a relationship with a strange English woman before coming here so, Tess thinks it's her turn to tell about her past and she tells it. After listening to her, Angel misunderstands Tess and takes a decision to leave Tess immediately as Angel expected Tess as a virgin girl. Next morning, Angel leaves Tess and she has no way to manage Angel. Tess thinks her luck is so bad and she comes back again to her parents. After knowing everything, her father scolds her. Tess understands that she can't live home anymore. For third times, Tess leaves home again, but her fate does not give up her shadow.
Now, she is working in a summer harvesting farm, far from her parental house but her body and mind do not work properly due to the bad days are on for her. Forgetting all of her past, she is working here, but one day accidentally Alec the brutal rapist meets with her again and forces her to live with him. Alec tells her he will marry her legally. At that time, Tess says that she married Angel but the evil does not give her a break. In this situation, Tess writes a letter to Angel and begs help, but Angel does not come back to Tess. One the other side, Tess father dies and while her family faces financial problems. Now Tess is compelled to live with Alec. She goes to Alec as her mistress.
Within a short time, Angel Clare comes back from Brazil and looking for Tess as a crazy man. At last, he finds her and apologizes his guilty telling that he was quite wrong and now he loves her more than before, but it is too late, says Tess. Tess becomes mad and asks Alec that why did he told her wrong that Angel will never be back? Now again Tess has nothing to give Angel. As a result, she doesn't show any empathy to Alec rather kills him and runs away with Angel. They spend a few days in a lonely house happily together and have to get out this house.
"Oh, happy house goodbye! She said. My life can only be a question of a few weeks. Why should we not have stayed there?"
It is the last painful voice we have from Tess. And at the end of the day, Tess is caught by police and hanged for the murder of Alec. Before leaving Angel, Tess asks Angel to marry her younger sister, Liza-Lu.WhenTess is executed for her crime Angel does her bidding and presumably marries Liza-Lu.
Though Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a semi-fictional novel, Hardy incorporated it many real places and the contemporary mode of production and depicted the lifestyle of twentieth century England. Being a woman, Tess was compelled to isolate herself again and again from her known society though she was quite innocent. The novel most eloquently reflects the difficulties of women when compared to men. Tess life ends with a tragedy due to a brutal act of a man. When she goes to the Bishop for praying her child's salvation, Bishop ignored her request as the child was born illegitimately. So, in our society people sometimes don't do the real thing with women. Women always charge by the society, not man. After all, her tragedy is connected to the greedy nature of her ancestral family.
In this novel, Hardy showed that the life and the fate of poor people always depend on the powerful hands of the rich people. Woman who is rejected by society and religion, are in much more troubles in our society is critically discussed here by the author.