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ISSN 1799-2591
Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 515-520, March 2013
© 2013 ACADEMY PUBLISHER Manufactured in Finland. doi:10.4304/tpls.3.3.515-520 The Inevitability of Tess‟s Tragedy
Haiyan Gao
School of Foreign Languages, He Ze City, China
Abstract—Thomas Hardy is the influential English novelist and realist writer in the nineteenth century. His masterpiece Tess of D'Urbervilles has won him the world prestige. Tess’s tragic fate is the core and clue of the novel. By analyzing the contemporary social, historical and cultural backgrounds and the heroine's character flaws, this paper points out that Tess's tragedy is caused by women's status of economic appendages and the subordinate position in society. Tess’s tragedy in life is inevitable. The arrangement of the plot structure also reflects the fatalism views of Hardy, and renders the necessity of the heroine's tragic destiny.
Index Terms—character flaw, fatalism, fate



Hardy is the first English novelist to write about the countryside and its inhabitants in a serious manner. As a novelist and writer of short stories, he belongs to the age of Victoria. During his long span of life, his religious beliefs also experience great changes, which are embodied in his words. Tess of the D’Urbervilles reflects Hardy‟s social pessimism and sense of tragedy in human life.
Chapter one intends to analyze the social backgrounds in which Tess lives. The story happened in the late half of the
19th century when capitalism had already invaded the distant rural areas of England and crisis and depression began to appear. Tess just lived in the huge historical transformation. Customary morality and religious ethics of Victoria era constituted the most important factor that determined Tess‟ inevitable tragedy. Meanwhile, Tess is a victim of the capitalist laws. Anyone is doomed to be repelled by society whoever tries to change the capitalist laws.
Chapter two, Hardy describes many accidents and coincidences, omens and natural environment in Tess of the
D’Urbervilles. These accidental matters, mysterious and incapable to foretell, which like an invisible hand give Tess a serious attack, and pushes the development of story. What‟s more, kinds of omens embody the Hardy‟s fatalism. He thought that human life was controlled by mysterious power beyond the universe. And fatalism consists of nature and human nature which are against the order of society.
Chapter three a discussion on the weaknesses in the main characters—Tess, Alec, Angel and Tess‟ parents are made.
Hardy molds an orthodox femininity which threatens the Victorian model of women. In the contrary, Tess possesses certain inherent qualities, such as pride, independence and passivity, while obedience and passivity are the inner reasons that lead to her downfall. In addition, Angle‟ love and Alec‟s persecution push Tess to hell.
According to Hardy‟s position, Tess‟s tragic life is inevitable. Facing the chaotic and crazy life, Hardy, with his keen, observation and skillful writing techniques, successful presents the tragedy of Tess. Although Hardy describes many
“Fallen women” in kinds of works, Tess is the perfect one.


During the test of time for 108 years, the people's attention to Tess of the D'Urbervilles was added, the depth and the width of research beyond the past. Lenin compared worker's hardship described in it with the Russia's present situation affirmed the real of realism. Tess of the D'Urbervilles becomes the most acute denouncement against British ruling class and whole capitalism. The tragedy of Tess was rightly the epitome of many labors in that socialism of extremely rottenness. Hardy endowed Tess with great vigor, fused the tragedy of main fate and character into the rich contents of social tragedy, and sent this book to the ridges of British novels directly.
In this paper, the reasons of the inevitability of Tess‟s tragedy are analyzed from two aspects: the