How does Hardy unfold the idea that ‘a woman pays’ in Tess of the d’Urbervilles and how is this illuminated by your partner text?

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Lauren Roberts AS English Literature Mr Wilkins

How does Hardy unfold the idea that 'a woman pays' in Tess of the d'Urbervilles and how is

this illuminated by your partner text?

Hardy unfolds the idea that 'a woman pays' through the constraints of Victorian moral

values, male superiority and the influence of aristocracy. This is further illuminated by Du

Maurier's Rebecca where male dominance and misogyny mean only the woman will pay. As

a woman in the midst of an undeniably patriarchal society, Tess is unable to escape the social

structure. Tess epitomizes the case that the innocent pay for the guilty. Similarly, Rebecca

faces a fight against the pressure of the Victorian society to maintain a perfect marriage, but

fails to succeed. Both women pay for the mistakes they have made as well as other's mistakes

and 'justice was done.'

Tess pays in many ways throughout the novel and often Tess' misfortune is related to male

superiority within the society. She is the embodiment of the tragic figure and when Hardy

writes 'President of Immortals' saw the protagonists life as a 'sport' showing Tess' life was

always determined by an omnipresent force. The diction 'sport' reflects the fleeting interest

that these Gods had with Tess, and that her struggle was merely a pastime. Moreover, the

contrast in significance between "Gods" and "Tess" demonstrates her vulnerability. It is clear

that Tess's tragic journey was something she was 'doomed to receive'; but the bildungsroman

is written in such a way that the reader is left wondering whether the course of Tess's life

would have changed had she not been treated 'so monstrously' by the 'cruel, cruel' men she

met along the way. Alec, the archetypal seducer in Victorian melodrama, after his violation

of Tess' virginity, doesn't realise his sin. The fact...