Angel and Tess: A Romance Fit For the Books?
Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Napolean and Josephine. Throughout society's entire existence, we have known almost innately that these couples belong together, and yet fate intervened to deal their relationship a tragic blow. Yet readers persist on viewing these couples as the most passionate of all times. What makes them so unique? What makes them so compatible? What makes everyone see them as half of a whole instead of two? These couples proved to society that they belonged together, no matter what circumstances they faced . They possessed True Love, the rare gift that makes a relationship last, amidst outer turmoil. In the ...view middle of the document...
Though she spends some years away from home, Tess's personality is still influenced by her humble beginnings, making it impossible for Angel to fully understand her, because his own childhood was relatively easy compared to Tess's. Tess bears most of the burden in her family. The responsibility of the family's welfare is solely on Tess's shoulders. Her parents, immature and impractical, unwittingly force her to care single-handedly for the family. Her mother even says, "The lady must be our relation, and my projick is to send Tess to claim kin." (21) Joan Durbeyfield wants to take the easy way out and inherit the D'Uberville fortune. Tess is the only one in the family that realizes the unlikelihood of this. Her younger brother comments on his excitement of becoming one of the upper-class, and asks, "'Baint you glad that we've become gentlefolk?'" (25) Because of constant situations like this, Tess is required to grow up much too quickly. Hardy writes that these situations "...might cause her to be estimated as a woman when she was not much more than a child." (43) Conditions like this cause the differences between Tess and Angel to be too great for their attraction to blossom into true love.
Another aspect in which Tess's childhood years were greatly different than Angel's
was the financial situation. She had to work hard all her life just to make sure that the family could survive. Her jobs often included hard, physical labor" Hardy describes how Tess and the other girls worked as he writes, “...the daily section by each damsel of the eight or ten cows to which she had grown accustomed to rendering." (119) Tess's family is close to destitute, whereas Angel's family is wealthy. She has to bargain for even the smallest amounts of money, and even then, she is not always successful. "...tanner would only give them a few shillings for Prince's carcass." (28) The family is so poor that even selling the corpse of their horse is considered. Anything that went wrong in the family is under Tess's care, and thus, she often had a heavy feeling of guilt blanketing her soul. The weights of these burdens begin to effect Tess both mentally and physically. Hardy writes, "Her face was dry and pale as if she regarded herself in the light of a murderess." (29) Tess was the only one who realized what the absence of a horse would mean to the family's welfare, and therefore, felt guilty. However, Angel Clare finds problems like these somewhat unfathomable. His wealth and social class has not allowed him to experience such situations as Tess. Once again, differences such as these break the ties of the unification of true love.
Tess, unlike Angel, was taken advantage of. In different stages of her life, she is used in more ways than one. Angel never was, and could not understand to what extent Tess's trauma has been stretched to. Tess is taken advantage of both knowingly, and
unwittingly. Her mother did not realize that she was using her...