The Analysis of Symbol in Tess of the D’urbervilles

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Tomas Hardy, a controversial writer in the Victorian era, lived for two centuries. Due to his family life and educational background, Hardy was familiar with many ancient Greek fairy tales and biblical stories.

In his representative fiction, Tess of The D’Urbervilles, Hardy employs various symbols to reveal the tragic fate of Tess, parallel to Hamlet’s famous line “Frailty, thy name is woman.” Thus, the multitude of symbols in this novel greatly contribute to uncovering the profound meaning of Tess of The D’Urbervilles. Within my thesis, I will emphasize certain characteristic symbols to discuss their implications on religious ideology and social significance. 1.

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The theme of carriage is prominently featured throughout Tess, from the start to the finish. Notably, the origins of this symbol can be traced back to a Greek legend recounting the tale of a cursed carriage. According to this myth, there exists a princess who possesses great beauty; however, her father is forewarned that any suitor who weds her will meet their demise.

The king, in order to marry the princess, demands that suitors engage in a carriage race with him. Failure to win results in execution. Many have perished, except for one man who, aided by the gods, triumphs and brings about the king’s downfall. In Greek folklore, carriages carry a foreboding connotation linked to curses.

The Greek myth connects the carriage with misfortune and death, which directly relates to Tess’s tragic fate. When Tess fell asleep on her way to market, something terrible occurred – the harness became entangled with an object that blocked the way. Consequently, Princess, her father’s poor horse, was killed.

Following the accident, Tess’s family lost their only source of income, causing them to seek assistance from relatives. Tragically, Tess falls victim to Alex’s seduction, marking the start of her ordeal. Eventually, she finds work as a milking-worker where her charm and kindness catch the eye of Angel.

Clare and Tess made the decision to get married. At their wedding, Tess had a sense of familiarity with the carriage that was arranged for them. This led Angel to share a tale about the D’Urberville ancestor’s carriage. The carriage holds a similar significance to the one mentioned in the Greek myth.

Clare is unable to endure Tess’s deceitful relationship and express his dissatisfaction by stating, “You are not the woman I loved but another woman in her shape.” The reality of Angel abandoning Tess is a distressing situation that is anticipated.

Tess’s tragedy seems to have no end. First, she lost her father and her home was taken away from her. Then, she unexpectedly encountered Alex once more. He arrived at the gate on horseback, but Tess mistakenly thought it was a carriage approaching due to the sound of the horse’s hooves. Alex proceeded to recount an entire story about a carriage, in which a beautiful woman was kidnapped by one of the D’Urbervilles and forced to hide inside it. The woman desperately tried to escape, eventually leading to a confrontation where they fought each other. Their tale concluded like a Greek myth, with both characters meeting their demise. The narrative resembles that of a Greek myth, wherein a king slays men but is ultimately killed by another man.

This paragraph introduces the tragic end of Tess, as depicted in a carriage tale. When Angel returned to ask for her forgiveness, she fatally harmed Alex. Eventually, Tess met her demise by hanging. As though echoing the words of Aeschylean phrase, it seemed as if the president of the immortals had concluded his amusement with Tess.

“1. The symbol of color in this novel is depicted as ‘a pure woman’. The article portrays various figures to exemplify this, such as the statement that her ‘innocent eyes added eloquence to color and shape’, emphasizing her uniqueness within the white company.”

She is a pure drop. In our common understanding, the color white symbolizes purity. Tess, being a beautiful girl, resembles a holy angel with pristine wings. Furthermore, this novel also introduces an opposing color, red.

The blood of various characters, like the horse and Alex, is combined with Tess’s tragic destiny. This connection is represented by the contrast between white and red, symbolizing Tess’s unfortunate fate and death.

Tess and Clare find joy in their time together on the dairy farm, which serves as a symbol of paradise in the novel. In this symbolic paradise, Tess embodies Eve while Clare represents Adam, and together they live harmoniously. However, their departure from the dairy farm after their marriage foreshadows their expulsion from paradise and the subsequent punishment for their original sin.

The text suggests that Tess and Angel’s life will be filled with unhappiness. This is evident when Tess admits her wrongdoing to Angel, and he condemns the falseness of her purity. These difficult circumstances symbolize Eve and Adam being cast out of paradise, and similarly, it foreshadows the tragic outcome of Angel and Tess’s marriage. In conclusion, the symbols employed in Tess of the D’Urbervilles enhance the novel’s theme.

In addition, Hardy employs symbols effectively, enhancing the tragic impact of Tess and evoking a deep emotional response. Tess’s sacrifice will always stir our emotions, while the overwhelming tragic power of Tomas Hardy continues to shock us.

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The Analysis of Symbol in Tess of the D’urbervilles. (2017, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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