Thomas Hardy's Tess As A Victim Of Religion

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Tess- a victim of church/religion Tess is a victim of religion as according to society norms. Probably the most obvious and the most discussed mistakes Tess makes in her life, are her “sins against society”. The first is quite obvious, she gives birth to an illegitimate child and is resolved to keep living her life and raise her child as well as she can in spite of the society’s contempt: “The baby’s offence against society in coming into the world was forgotten by the girl-mother; her soul’s desire was to continue that offence by preserving the life of the child”. (112) The second one is not so apparent and in the eyes of the author just formal or perhaps unnatural…show more content…
When it comes to Tess, this was not the case as she was an unmarried woman with an illegitimate child. As a good Christian, Tess does what is expected of her and visits Church. It is not her fault that she was raped and had a child without being married. However when she wants to baptize her illegitimate child the Church refuses. She wants to do the right thing. When her baby dies she wants to bury him in the Churchyard but the Church does not allow this. This is a clear case of oppression from the Church. Hardy does not dispute the fact that she makes mistakes but he gives focus to her reasons and attitudes. He does not consider her failures as fatal just because they are not tolerated by the society. He most of all sees her as part of the nature: “Thus Tess walked on; a figure which is part of the landscape; a field woman pure and simple, in winter guise...” (316) Therefore applies the laws of Nature instead of the laws of the society on her case. This she eventually start to see towards the end of the book: “She was ashamed of herself for her gloom of the night, based on nothing more tangible than a sense of condemnation under an arbitrary law of society which had no foundation in Nature” (…show more content…
She has her flaws and also makes many mistakes during her life. Some of them originate from the above mentioned features of her character such as her false feeling of responsibility which leads her to undertake all that she is asked to even though she does not think it is right. Another thing is that since she evaluates herself according to the values and norms of people around her, she also tries to conform to these values even when she does not actually believe in them. She is not passive, she just considers her fight to be already lost so she does not try to challenge the rigid rules. She is too sensitive, considerate, loving and untrained to deal with the problems in her life otherwise. In other words, she is too good for the world she lives
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