Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Alec Stoke-d'Urberville

As the various facets of a diamond reflect light according to the viewing perspective, so humans also possess multi-faceted aspects of personality. Hardy's Victorian novel presents an interesting character study of Alec Stoke-d'Urberville, the lascivious rake who violates his 'cousin,' converts to a fiery preacher, and tragically discovers his lack of worldly and religious faith. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Alec's personality and character undergo superficial transformations observable in his physical appearance, emotional temperament, and intellectual guile.

Before Hardy brings Alec onto the set, he introduces the Stoke-d'Urbervilles' spurious claim to the d'Urberville nobility, which Alec's father established after "conning for an hour" (33). Alec's emergence from the "dark triangular" door of his tent suggests a menacing distortion of the Holy Trinity. Hardy's physical description of Alec paints a lifelike embodiment of his physique and captures fleeting images of his character. Alec's "swarthy complexion," "badly molded" mouth, and barbaric traces portray a sinister figure (34). Despite these unattractive physical characteristics,...

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