about obscure as a tragic novel.
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I only read a couple of Hardy’s novels but I know that Jude was considered his bleakest. Jude is bright and full of promise, but ultimately he is inconsequential. He is unable to transcend the rigid social structure of Victorian society. Jude fails to make good on the things he most desires. He doesn’t get into Christminster (university, kind of like Harvard in the States) nor does he get the girl (Sue Bridehead). Living common law was certainly out of the question! It would have been pretty difficult to circumvent social norms in the Victorian era. Although Jude wanted to pursue religious studies he felt he was unfit because of his sexual longings for Sue. In turn, Sue was afraid of her sexual longings for anybody. So yes, Jude is tragic. It is a novel filled with unrealized longings and potential.