Is Angel Really an Angel?--- the Paradox of Angel of Tess of the D’urbervilles

Topics: Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure Pages: 8 (3338 words) Published: October 31, 2008
Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the representative of Thomas Hardy. The heroine, Tess’s bravery, purity, and her determination impressed many readers deeply. Till now, there are many works written about this. In those works, the authors usually prize Tess and condemn Alec who raped Tess and made her pregnant. But there is still another character----Angel whom Tess loves most. In this paper, the author tries to prove that Angel is the root cause which leads to Tess’s tragedy. And through comparing this character to the image of angle in Christianity, tries to find the similarities between these two. Why does Angel hurt Tess so badly although he loves her so much? Is there some symbolized meaning of his name? In this paper, the author will explain those questions, and finally explain the question in title: Is Angel really an angel?

Key words: angel;paradox; Christianity

"Tess of the D'Urbervilles", the magnum opus of Thomas Hardy, is one of the excellent literary works of the European Critical Realism. It describes the tragically short life of the poor peasant woman Tess. By describing the sufferings of Tess, this novel specifically and vividly describes the disintegration of small individual farmers and suffering of the bankruptcy after the rural capitalistic invasion into Britain in 19th century. The three main characters ----- Tess Durbeyfield, Alec D’Urbervilles, and Angel Clare make up a tragic and realistic fairy tale. Hardy gives his all to a better quality of working women: strong, hardworking and imbued with rebellion. She suffers from a series of heavy blows of life and the strong pressure of secular ethics, but she does not bow to the difficulties and the evil. By the sense of dignity and self-determination, she struggles in the face of tremendous difficulties and hardships strongly and repeatedly rescues herself from a desperate situation. Without doubt, she is a woman with good nature. So people hate Alec because he takes Tess’s virginity and makes her pregnant. If there is no him, maybe Tess will not die. But Angel Clare, the person that Tess loves most, has a handsome appearance, a gentle manner, and a considerate heart. All the women should be attracted by him. Like his name, he gets the women’s worship as the angel gets human beings’ worship. But if you pause and think about Tess’s tragedy deeply, it is obvious that Angel is the person who victimizes Tess even more than Alec. Whenever I read Tess speak to Angel with a desperate, weak tone “too late, all too late”, tears are always surging in my eyes. Why does the destiny always make fun of such a pure living creature? The Gods ended their tricks of Tess’s fate. Who actually missed the other? Tess? Or Angel? Angel didn’t dance with all other girls except Tess in the first festival in May; he missed Tess, so Tess misses him in the rest of her life so unavoidably. Is it really retributive? The aim of this paper is to analyze the characteristics of Angel to show his paradoxical features which lead him to hurt Tess although he loves her so much. In the fairy tales, angel is the embodiment of goodness, virtue, and moral. It is sent by God to let human beings know what is right and what is wrong. But angel also do wrong thing. It is not perfect. In this novel, the situation is also like this. Angel Clare’s unforgiveness, which compared with Alec’s rape, was so insignificant, leads to Tess’s death. Angel’s behavior seems not match for its goodness. This paper aims to compare this character with the image of angel in Christianity, and analyze the conflicts of this character to answer this question: Is Angel really an angel?

Part One: Angel is not an Angel
Living hard, Tess is arranged by her parents to recognize the pro-family D’Urbervilles. Who knows Alec D’Urbervilles is a bogus moral capitalists. He is a playboy who bought the name of D’Urbervilles. He takes the opportunity to insult the Tess. Being...

Bibliography: Andrew Mangravite. Tess of the Derbeyfield -- Good Woman or Noble Dame?, < Dec. 12, 2006 >
Blake, Kathleen, (1982). Pure Tess: Hardy on knowing a Woman. Studies in English Literature, 1982, vol. 22, issue 4, 689-701
Kathy Newkirk, Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Born At the Wrong Time.
Li, Y. (2005). Genesis. In Y. Li (Eds.), Selected Readings from the New Revised Standard Bible, pp 17-21. Chengdu: Sichuan University Press
Luo, J. G. (2005). John Milton (1608-1674). In J. G. Luo (Eds.), A New Anthology of English Literature (volume 1), pp 202-215. Beijing: Peking University Press
Thomas Hardy, (2003). Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Yili: Yili People’s Press
Zhang, S.J. (1986). Appreciation of “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”, Chongqing: Chongqing Press
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