Tess of the d?Urbervilles

Discusses the ‘purity’ of the character, Tess, in this novel by Thomas Hardy.

The subtitle of Thomas Hardy?s novel, “Tess of the d?Urbervilles”, is ?A Pure Woman.? By choosing this title, the author suggests that the ideas society has about purity are fundamentally misguided. The paper shows that, while society says that Tess is not pure because she is not a virgin, Hardy suggests that Tess is the only pure and good human being in any of the societies in which she moves.
“The novel is structured upon two revelations “the first about Tess’ ancestry, the second about Tess’ status as a woman who has engaged in sexual relations. Ironically, her claim to an old name would never have impressed Alex, had she not been a beautiful young girl who could be taken advantage of. Thus, Tess’ goodness and her beauty is taken advantage twice – first by her family, who places her in Alex’s hands in the hope of enriching their own coffers, and second by Angel, who gives her hope for a better life, encourages her to trust him, and then cruelly discards her until it is too late.”