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"Tess Of The D'urbervilles" By Thomas Hardy

1224 words - 5 pages

Ladies and Gentlemen,19th Century Britain was an innovative period, catalyzed by the industrial revolution, which altered many of society's values. It is during this period of change, observant authors reflected their attitudes towards prevailing social values, praising and criticizing them through their texts. Thus it is through the analysis of these texts, can we appreciate the author's observations of the 19th century society. One such text is the 1891 novel "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" with the 'observer', Thomas Hardy, cleverly questioning society's outlook upon the purity of women and the dogmas of religion through ingenious characterization, 'poetic' voice and various literary ...view middle of the document...

This critical attitude is reflected extensively throughout the text through the third person omniscient point of view, allowing Hardy to implement authorial intrusions, which enables Hardy to express his opinions on the value of chastity in women. Authorial intrusions described Tess as "Obsessed by shreds of convention and a cloud of moral hobgoblins . . . made her such an anomaly" after the birth of Sorrow and "a slave to custom conventionality", depicting Hardy's negative attitude towards the values of chastity in women , stating that it not only causes suffering but also injustice. The ironic dialogue between Angel and Tess further emphasizes Hardy's negative attitude towards the overstressed chastity on women, the dialogue between Angel and Tess where Angel states "this love can endure all" and confession of his "eight-forty hours dissipation with a stranger" meets an ironic climax as Angel fails to "endure" Tess' ill past and ends by stating "this women I have been loving is not you . . . but one in my image". This irony emphasizes Angel's hypocrisy, reflecting to us, Hardy's critical viewpoint where males may be 'impure' yet women must be 'pure', highlighting to us, this double standard on chastity. Therefore, I hope you are convinced that Thomas Hardy withheld a rather critical attitude on society's value of women's purity, stating that is both overstressed and a double standard, illustrated in the text by authorial intrusion, dialogue and Irony."Tess of the D'Urbervilles" also discloses Hardy's observations of religion and its role in 19th century society. The value of religion or more precisely Christianity as a central facet of 19th century life is emphasized through the religious characterization of both the D'Urbervilles and Clare families. The dialogue between the D'Urbervilles "Tis nater. . . what do please god" as well as the repetition of "Providence" illustrates the impact of religion within their lives, while Reverend Clare and the connotative name of "Angel Clare" reflects the Clare family's value for religion, clearly depicting the fact that religion is a crucial value within all families during the 19th century. You may also have notice the resemblance of Tess, Angel and Alec with Eve, Adam and Satan respectively from the "The Book of Genesis". This ingenious intertextuality with "Paradise Lost", whereby the destructive Alec, symbolizes the devil and Angel the morally perfect yet rash symbolizes Adam, together they destroy the life of sweet Tess who evidently resembles Eve, effectively imposes an ever presence of religion throughout the novel, exemplifying to us, the responders the ever present...

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