Tess of the D'Urbervilles – Illusion Vs Reality

Essay by florin15High School, 11th gradeA-, January 2008

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Mirrored through human existence is the tragedy of the struggle of awareness towards distinguishing illusion from reality. In Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", the romanticist, Angel Clare, idolizes his love, Tess Durbeyfield. Angel grasps the idolization of Tess and he cannot come to the realization of Tess's impure act. The tragic flaw is the result of his misconceptions. Hardy creates a mood that we don't always perceive the reality of things, and we struggle internally when we become aware of the reality. Hardy portrays Angel's struggle of working past those misconceptions of Tess as a pure woman.

Angel portrays the opposite reflection compared to his family when looking through the "mirror" of his life. Angel's mirror experience is seen as one that is "rebellious". Everything he does is so extreme opposite from the path his family wanted for him. All of Angel's family had attended Cambridge, and had gone on to be clergymen.

Angel on the other hand, decides to venture down another path and be a farmer instead of a clergyman. His decision to be a common farmer pressures him to attempt to please his parents, especially when choosing a wife. His internal struggle is between choosing the pure and loving farmer's wife, Tess, whom he desires, or the well-established, Christian wife, Mercy Chant, which his father wants for him. Thus although Angel is the opposite mirrored of his family his struggles allow him to be a an exact reflection of human existence, and their struggles against misconceptions.

Angel has created in his mind a perfect image of Tess that nothing could alter it. He tells her "I know you to be the most spotless creature ever lived"(192). Angel is supprised when he hears about the rape and cannot forgive her. "O Tess, forgiveness does not...