Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Eluding Fate

In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy primarily showcases man's inability to elude fate. Society's constraints highlight the futile nature of attempting to change the course of one's life, for the inability to transcend one's social classes mirrors the impossibility of transcending one's destiny. Similarly, Hardy's deft control of atmosphere and setting to provide omens that enhance the reality that fate is an inescapable force, reinforces the psychological effect of Tess' failed attempts to dictate her own future. These help take the story out of the realm of the typical and the and into the realm of the characteristic rhythms of human nature. Stated concisely, Tess represents the human who suffers for crimes that are not his own and lives a life unfairly degraded (Gatrell 68). William Watson agrees with such an assertion, writing, "The great theme of the book is the incessant penalty paid by the innocent for the wicked, the unsuspicious for the crafty, the child for its fathers; and again and again this spectacle, in its wide diffusion, provokes the novelist to a... declaration of rebellion against a supramundane ordinance that can decree, or permit, the triumph of such a wrong"...

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