Fallen Women In Thomas Hardy's Tess Of The D Urbervilles

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Thomas Hardy in his novel Tess of the D’ urbervilles has highlighted the life of a women who was being exploited by the society and her purity and chastity is questioned upon throughout the novel. In the nineteenth-century society, there were two types of women: Fallen women and good women. Good women were seen as pure and clean i.e. virgins until they get married and their bodies were seen as that of a goddess in a temple which should not be used for pleasure. Their role was to have children and take care of their household chores. The woman who did not fulfill the expectations of the people in the society and their family was considered as a fallen women. The character of Tess is regarded as that of a fallen woman, she has been represented…show more content…
the loss of chastity is the loss of purity, Tess would certainly appear to be impious, because, firstly, she lost her chastity, and secondly, with her consent. But, to Hardy, it is the most faulty and narrow concept of morality. To him, chastity is of two types – chastity of the mind and of the body. Chastity of the body is related to virginity, whereas that of mind is the purity of the mind and soul. To Hardy, real chastity is the chastity of the mind and soul. One may be bodily unchaste; still he can be chaste, if he is chaste by his soul and mind. Those who have impure soul and mind are not ‘pure’ despite the chastity of their body. He, therefore, calls Tess pure for, in spite of losing bodily chastity she never lost purity of the…show more content…
Still, before blaming Tess, we must consider the inevitable and bitter conditions, leading Tess to accept such a slur on her fair name. Tess had been suffering throughout her life till the saturation point arrived. She tried her best to contact Angel, but failed; she aimed to get some job, but in vain. Her family was at the edge of starvation after her father’s death and the serious ailment of her mother. Then Alec assured her that Angel wouldn’t return. So she ventured to live with Alec as his mistress. She did it under dire necessity, not for lust or any personal end. But she never accepted Alec from her heart. Alec’s murder proves this fact. It may be an error; yet it alone can never prove her unchaste. Keeping this last incident aside, she is undeniably pure. So pure and honest she was that she didn’t conceal from Angel the fact of her living with Alec as his
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