Thomas Hardy - Tess of the dUrbervilles referat





Thomas Hardy

-Tess of the d’Urbervilles-


Thomas Hardy was born on the 2nd of June , 1840, at Higher Bockhampton. He attended the village school at Bockhampton and then he went to school at Dorchester. This is the period when he started studying Latin, French and German. Hardy left Dorchester for London where he started working as an assistant-architect. It is the period (1862-1967) when he read Spencer, Huxley, Shelley, Browning, Scott and Swinburne.




Around 1870 Hardy returned to Higher Bockhampton. He began his first novel. “Far from the Madding Crowd”(1874) was the novel to establish Hardy’ s reputation. Other novels were: 1878, “The Return of the Native”; 1880, “The Trumpet Major”; 1886, “The Mayor of Casterbridge”;1887, “The Woodlanders”; 1891, “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”.

Thomas Hardy died on the 11th of January, 1928; his ashes were laid in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.

“Tess of the D’Urbervilles” is Hardy’ s tragic masterpiece. It is the story of innocence and evil, of man and nature, of history and its relation to the present, concentrated on the fate of a simple country girl.

Tess is the daughter of a poor villager of Blackmoor Vale, who believes that he is the descendent of an ancient family, the D’Urbervilles. Tess is seduced by Alec, the rich son of a family that bears the name of D’Urberville. Tess give birth to a child who dies after its baptism. The heroine leaves her native village; later, while working as a dairymaid, she gets engaged to Angel Clare, the son of a clergyman. On their wedding night, she confesses to him the seduction by Alec; Angel, cruelly abandons her. She is once more thrown in the arms of Alec D’Urberville. When Tess’ s appeals to her husband, now in Brazil, remain unanswered, she becomes, for the sake of her family, Alec’ s mistress; Clare, returning from Brazil and repenting of his harshness, finds her living with Alec. Maddened by the second wrong that has been done to her by Alec, Tess stabs and kills him to liberate herself. Angel and Tess run away and Tess is arrested at Stonehenge, tried and hanged. The novel ends with the phrase: “Justice was done, and the President of the Immortals has ended his sport with Tess”.

Many novelists have set their scenes in real places, but in Hardy’ s works almost every step taken by his characters is taken along real roads; the towns and villages, the hills, even many of the houses are identifiable. The half-real, half-imaginary land in which Hardy’ s characters and scenes are set in Wessex, a largely agricultural region which designates the south-west counties of England, principally Dorset. This elementary and unchanged space is very important as it is known that the background, nature and landscapes, is one of the most important elements in Hardy’ s novels. Nature takes part in the action assuring the protection of the character’s feeling on a background of generality and eternity.



Tess, the main character of the novel, is a simple innocent country girl, who tries to escape her social background under the pressure of exterior circumstances; she is forced to fight the principles of evil, embodied by Alec, but she cannot resist; she sins, therefor she is punished. In the unequal fight between the natural and social forces on the hand and heroes on the other, the heroes are to lose in all of Hardy’ s novels.

Alec D’Urberville is the symbol of evil, the embodiment of the wickedness and unscrupulousness of the implacable world in which man is obliged to live.

Angel Clare is neither good nor bad; he is not daring and he is conservative, abandoning Tess in the most difficult moments. Hardy did not succeed in portraying him very well, so he remains a rather vague character.

“Tess of the D’Urbervilles” is a third person narration; because the narrator is exterior to the events, the narration unfolds objectively.

Hardy was an author powerfully connected to Wessex, his native place, and this explains his skill in realizing some very impressive descriptions. One of these, supporting the drama of the characters, is that of Stonehenge, where the last episode of Tess’ s tragedy takes place.

The Stonehenge scene illustrates once more the idea that in Hardy’ s novels nature does not help the characters, but it only projects the human tragedy on the primordial axes.











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