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An Analysis of the Causes of Tess’s Tragedies in Tess of the D’urbervilles

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  • August 2013
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Guo Yanping
Professor Shen Fuying
English Novel
5 February 2013
An Analysis of the Causes of Tess’s Tragedies in Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy is one of the most prominent novelists during the Victorian era in Britain. Trapped in the middle ground between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Hardy not only inherited Victorian tradition but also initiated the modern innovation in literature. Tess of the D'urbervilles is a masterpiece representing his reputation of a full-blown writer and it is also unanimously considered to be a masterpiece in the world literary history. The novel has aroused a substantial amount of controversy notwithstanding its wide popularity. In this novel, the heroin Tess has undergone a series of tragedies which appear to be both unexpected and predestinated. The causes of her tragedy scatter on a relatively large scale ranging from the internal factor (her heroism) to the inevitable external factors including society, law and religion. In this paper, the varied causes of Tess's tragedy will be analyzed at length so as to present to the readers her predestinated tragic fate in this story. Introduction

The Victorian era of British history refers to the period of Queen Victoria's reign from June 22 of 1837 until her death on January 22 in 1901. Victorian England saw great expansion of wealth and power along with the emergence of peace and prosperity. Culturally there was a transition away from the rationalism of the Georgian period and toward romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and the arts (Dixon 34). The era is characterized by the values of social and sexual restraint, which in a large part gives rise to the literary tradition of refined sensibilities. Born in the early period of Victorian era, Thomas Hardy lived his life in a time of rapid social changes due to Britain’s transition from an old-fashioned agricultural nation to a modern industrial one. Although Hardy viewed himself...