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kev67
06-28-2012, 03:08 PM
Which are the good film and TV adaptions?

I once saw the first 25 mins of the Roman Polanski film. The acting was good but some of the accents set my teeth on edge. I could only cope with 25 mins because I could see what was coming next.

The recent BBC adaption with Gemma Arterton looks quite good from the little I've seen. It looks like a good cast, although Gemma Arterton is maybe a tad strapping. She looks like a tennis player. Eddie Redmayne must have had a job lugging her about.

There was another BBC adaption in 1998. I haven't seen that one neither, but I notice it starred Justine Waddell, who by hardy any coincidence to anyone but me, also played Estella in the previous book I read, Great Expectations.

BTW, I enjoyed looking through this tumblr webpage (http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/tess+of+the+d%27urbervilles).

kelby_lake
06-29-2012, 06:25 AM
I enjoyed the Polanski one- visually it looks spot on.

The Gemma Arterton one is probably the best I've seen so far. Tess is meant to have a womanly figure and Gemma Arteton is suitably beautiful. My only problem is that Eddie Redmayne looks too weedy to be a farmer.

I haven't seen the 1996 TV movie but will check it out.

Wayne Jr
01-26-2013, 07:02 PM
Hi there!

I'm new here. I love Hardy and Tess of the d'Urberville is one of my favorite.

I watched all the three adaptations.

I think Polanski's Tess is all over the best one. I think this one interpreted the novel very well, even this is the shortest one, and missing key elements, like Prince's death, and Alec's conversion. This captured novel's eroticism, and sexual tension between Tess and Alec. Of course all the scenes at Slopes are lavish and has sexual undertone, but the scene Tess says to Alec after she hit him, " punish me, whip me, crush me", is so erotic, is it just me? Nastassja Kinski possesses deadly attraction that drive any man crazy, and she portrayed Tess's passiveness, vulnerability, and sexuality. Alec and Angel are both good, I thought. Lawson appears a little too old for Alec, ( I thought he was more like 40's in the film, but he was actually 34), but has upper class elegance and tall, athletic good look, also portrayed class power, sensuality and arrogance very well. Firth (Angel) captured his hypocrisy and coldness, and made me hate him so much, however his rugged look didn't match Gorgeous Kinski at all.

1998 TV series is actually the most faithful one, but a bit cheap, and acting wasn't very good. Justine Waddel wasn't convincing for Tess, not attractive enough, and her acting sometimes bothered me. Jason Flemying(Alec)'s acting was over the top and too creepy, even repulsive. Milburn was too nice and pretty for Angel, and drew too much sympathy. I didnt like the way Tess was portrayed after she murdered Alec, she appeared out of mind and insane, but she was supposed to be sane. The Strawberry scene (how Tess ate the strawberry, and how Alec looked at her) was too creepy and almost disgusting. Needless to say, the rape scene was almost unbearable....

2008 BBC series is an over all good production, beautiful filmography, good acting, actors are beautiful, good supportive characters, and has some touchy moments, however it was not Hardy's Tess. This has own interpretation. This adaptation made what happened between Tess and Alec in the Chase a clear cut rape (for your record, in other two, Tess was also raped) and totally removed the time she spent there as his lover. This is the bad example of removeing the ambiguousness of the novel. Even with the best effort to change dialogue to fit in throughout the film, it made Tess and Alec's relationship too AWKWARD, and most of the time made no sence. This production focused on Tess's purity and romance between Tess and Angel, but their courtship is too rushed and no chemistry at all. To achieve that, they made Angel a little bit more sympathetic, and Alec more diabolical and vile. Tess is portraid by Gemma Arterton, who has tall, skinny, model type of body, and pretty, inoccent look. She screamed a lot and her voice was annoying sometimes. Angel was played by Eddy Redmayne, who impressed me in the pillars of the earth, but not this time, looked too young and thin, even sometimes dorky and ugly, often looked lost, but portrayed Angel's immature and weak charactor well. Alec was however not a mustache twirling villain this time, portrayed by Hans Matheson, the handsome but arrogant Earl of Essex in Virgin Queen. He was too GORGEOUS to be harshly rejected by Tess ( I actually felt bad for him). This production also focus on the idea of the chance of happiness, what if they had danced and fell in love when they first met? Which I though is totally absurd. There was no way he would have noticed her and fell in love with her, before she visited d'Urberville's estate. This production changed the dialogue a lot and cut a lot of critical words, which made me mad. Tess didn't even say," I shall not live for you to despise me" at Stonehenge, which shows Tess's realization that Angel will never able to forgive her...... It's critical! One more thing, I got a impression that Joan basically sold Tess to Alec at d'Urberville's family vault in this film......this tells you how jerk her mother and Alec were presented in this....it was totally unnecessary ..(screenwriter was trying to defend Tess's purity? Perhaps)

Each has own flaws, but if you like Tess, all three are worth to watch.

kev67
01-26-2013, 07:25 PM
Interesting post, Wayne Jr.


Hi there!

This production also focus on the idea of the chance of happiness, what if they had danced and fell in love when they first met? Which I though is totally absurd. There was no way he would have noticed her and fell in love with her, before she visited d'Urberville's estate. This production changed the dialogue a lot and cut a lot of critical words, which makes me mad. Tess even didn't say," I shall not live for you to despise me" at Stone Henge, which shows Tess's realization that Angel will never able to forgive her...... It's critical!

Each has own flaws, but if you like Tess, all three are worth to watch.

I seem to remember this was a theme in the book: if only Angel had danced with Tess that first time.

Wayne Jr
01-30-2013, 12:52 PM
Interesting post, Wayne Jr.



I seem to remember this was a theme in the book: if only Angel had danced with Tess that first time.


Kev67, thanks for your reply.

As for a chance of happiness, Yes, it was presented. If they ever had a chance of happiness, it must have been the time they first met. Hardy made Angel meet Tess before Alec did. He gave Angel a chance to fall in love with her before Alec laid his eyes on her, but he didn't use it. He didn't even choose her to dance. Was it just a misfortune, or bad luck? If he had happened to dance with her, did he fall in love? My answer is No. I think it was meant to be. That was fate.

There was two reasons. He didn't recognize Tess when they fist met. She was not distinguishable from others back then. She showed significant difference, after she came home from d'Urbervilles estate. Her experience and suffering changed her from "simple girl to complex woman", she became "a fine creature". Hardy calls her experience " a liberal education" . Angel was obviously attracted to ( lusting after) her womanliness and sexuality. It might suggest that Angel could have never fell in love with Virginal Tess.

The other is her class. He probably didn't marry to lower class woman(that was obviously a obstacle for him). His passion for her made him overcome this obstacle.

Angel was Tess's absent 'guardian angel', who was supposed to protect her in her critical times, but he was never around nor protect her, and sadly that was meant to be.

That's what I was trying to say in last post. Does it make any sense?

kev67
01-30-2013, 08:10 PM
Kev67, thanks for your reply.

As for a chance of happiness, Yes, it was presented. If they ever had a chance of happiness, it must have been the time they first met. Hardy made Angel meet Tess before Alec did. He gave Angel a chance to fall in love with her before Alec laid his eyes on her, but he didn't use it. He didn't even choose her to dance. Was it just a misfortune, or bad luck? If he had happened to dance with her, did he fall in love? My answer is No. I think it was meant to be. That was fate.


I think you are right there. There was a lot of bad timing in the story. Angel could not dance with Tess because his brothers were in a hurry. Tess could not explain her past to Angel till just after the wedding. Tess arrived at Angel's parents house when they were at church and then had to listen to Angel's brother discuss how Angel had made a mess of his life by marrying her. Eventually Angel did decide to come back and forgive her, but it was too late. Because of her family's desperate straits, she had started living with Alec again. I think in the end she realised that fate had conspired against her.




There was two reasons. He didn't recognize Tess when they fist met. She was not distinguishable from others back then. She showed significant difference, after she came home from d'Urbervilles estate. Her experience and suffering changed her from "simple girl to complex woman", she became "a fine creature". Hardy calls her experience " a liberal education" . Angel was obviously attracted to ( lusting after) her womanliness and sexuality. It might suggest that Angel could have never fell in love with Virginal Tess.


Possibly, but they were both very attractive people. Tess seems to think Angel prefers simple girls to 'complex women' because she tells Angel to take up with her little sister, the unsullied Liza-Lu when she's gone.



The other is her class. He probably didn't marry to lower class woman(that was obviously a obstacle for him). His passion for her made him overcome this obstacle.

Angel was Tess's absent 'guardian angel', who was supposed to protect her in her critical times, but he was never around nor protect her, and sadly that was meant to be.

That's what I was trying to say in last post. Does it make any sense?

The class thing is interesting. All four Victorian books I read last year were in part about marriages between people from different classes. Three of them went horrendously wrong: Great Expectations, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Wuthering Heights. Only one of them eventually came good, but only after overcoming significant obstacles: Jane Eyre. It seems to be a recurring theme.

I don't think Angel was quite so class conscious as the rest of his family. He obviously did not like the middle class woman his parents wanted him to marry, Mercy Chant. He had decided to become a farmer, a relatively prosperous one no doubt, but one who worked with his hands. He may have been rationalizing, but he said that a farm girl like Tess would make a better wife for his chosen line of work than a woman like Mercy Chant. Also, he was happy to dance with the country girls, unlike his brothers.

I wondered about about Hardy's decision to call his character Angel. It is obviously intended to be ironic. I am not sure I like that obvious signalling. Authors from that era seemed to do that sometimes.

Wayne Jr
02-03-2013, 02:10 PM
The class thing is interesting. All four Victorian books I read last year were in part about marriages between people from different classes. Three of them went horrendously wrong: Great Expectations, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Wuthering Heights. Only one of them eventually came good, but only after overcoming significant obstacles: Jane Eyre. It seems to be a recurring theme.

I don't think Angel was quite so class conscious as the rest of his family. He obviously did not like the middle class woman his parents wanted him to marry, Mercy Chant. He had decided to become a farmer, a relatively prosperous one no doubt, but one who worked with his hands. He may have been rationalizing, but he said that a farm girl like Tess would make a better wife for his chosen line of work than a woman like Mercy Chant. Also, he was happy to dance with the country girls, unlike his brothers.

I wondered about about Hardy's decision to call his character Angel. It is obviously intended to be ironic. I am not sure I like that obvious signalling. Authors from that era seemed to do that sometimes.

Angel mingles with cottage girls at Marlot (only male among a bunch of maidens). He also works with farmers at Crick's (only young man among a bunch of girls again), but he sits separately from them to create a distance. He claims he hates old families, but when he finds out that Tess came from a noble family, he thinks it will please his mother. He says he prefers to marry a woman who can milk cowes, but he tries to educate her. After they are estranged on their honey moon, when she says that it happens all the time, he answers, " Don’t,Tess; don’t argue. Different societies, different manners. You almost make me say you are an unapprehending peasant woman, who have never been initiated in to the proportions of social things", " by giving up all ambition to own a wife with social standing, with fortune, with knowledge of the world, I should secure rustic innocence assurely as I should secure pink cheeks." So he is basically saying, Tess' case is not acceptable in his middle class society, and if she is not a virgin, she isn't worthy for him. He choses to be a Farmer, but he has a middle class mind set, based on the mores and standards of his Clerical family. If he wanted to marry a virgin, he could've chosen Mercy Chant or other milk maids, who are all virtuous, however, ironically he falls for Tess, who has a past, for her good looks and her tormented spirit. He makes himself believe her as a virgin, but how ridiculous it sounds to believe the SEXIEST woman in the whole country as a VIRGIN. Agree? He is an absolutely naive and self-contradictory man.

I think the inter- class marriage and it's failure is one of the theme in this novel. Tess' mother believes the fortune teller's prediction that Tess will marry a gentleman. The novel also alludes to some Fairy Tales, (such as Sleeping Beauty, Grimm's a girl without hands, and Rossetti's Goblin Market). Their horse 'Prince ' and his death represent the failure of marrying a prince (marrying a gentleman), and she fails, with BOTH of her lovers. She comes home twice without marrying a gentleman, (one is a failed marriage). With Alec, she comes home unmarried and knocked up, realizing that he would only treat her as a "mistress/ kept woman" and he has no intension to marry her. With her situation (being an attractive girl, poor, working class, and a false kin), that's more likely what she can get (actually, being a rich man's kept woman is probably better than being a poor man's only wife? in some culture for sure) Then, with Angel, it ends up with a failed marriage, rejected by his narrow-mindness of middle class mindset, double standard, unforgiveness, and hypocrisy...


The names are symbolic, and obvious, like you pointed out, Angel is very ironical. Alec is obviously Alexander the conquerer. And again, Prince, the horse.

kev67
02-03-2013, 06:45 PM
I don't think Angel was the only man at Talbothay's dairy. It's just the dairymaids were not interested in any of the others. Later in the book, one of the dairymen called Amby Seedling tells Izz Huett that he had been in love with her for two years but that she hardly answered him.

There's a quote on the cover of my copy of Tess that says:
'She looked absolutely pure. Nature, in her fantastic trickery, had set such a seal of maidenhead upon Tess's countenance that he gazed at her with a stupefied air: "Tess - say it is not true! No, it is not true!"

I don't think Angel is alone in assuming Tess is a virgin. Dairyman Crick calls her 'Maidy' iirc. When Angel takes Tess to another town just before their wedding, two men come into the inn. One of them remarks what a pretty maid Tess is. The other one, who recognises her from Trantridge tells him she is no maid. Angel comes in at that point and punches him. Tess seems like a very picky girl. She doesn't like being 'clipsed and colled'.

I didn't know Alec was named after Alexander the Conqueror.

kelby_lake
02-06-2013, 03:59 AM
I seem to remember this was a theme in the book: if only Angel had danced with Tess that first time.

Co-incidences and fateful meetings are a big part of Hardy. Tess is particular is full of "What if?"'s

kelby_lake
02-06-2013, 04:03 AM
I get the sense that Alec was named after Alexander the Great as well

kiki1982
02-06-2013, 06:06 AM
Co-incidences and fateful meetings are a big part of Hardy. Tess is particular is full of "What if?"'s

Naturalism is full of it. Stories like that often depict a chain of events with the very first one often dertermining the woes that will follow (what would have happened had the d'Urbervilles not learnt that they were of old noble stock? They would probably not have sent their daughter away, she would not have got to know Alec, etc., etc.).

About the BBC adaptation. I think the accents were good (as far as I could tell, that is), the images were great, the only thing was that they completely missed the point that Tess is not a mere tragedy, it's a downright butchery of a naÔve girl. It was too soft.
Also total disregard for commonplace imagery in horses did not help. At some point at the end, when Tess is working there on that harsh farm in that desolate and industrialised spot of Devon (?), Alec trots in on a white horse. I mean, he's not her romantic prince. I grant you, the horse worked well in the grey and black background, but it wasn't ideal. Just a detail, but it was full of this stuff. The compelling scene with a reference to Paradise Lost with the burning stacks of weeds was toned down to a sunny day with a little bit of burning stuff on the foreground. Someone clearly missed the point that this story is not about decisions, it is about what happens to you regardless. What is in fate's or God's plan for you will happen. If not tomorrow, then a little later, whatever you do about it.
It was a bit sad, because the BBC always does so well on an image level.

Wayne Jr
02-11-2013, 06:12 PM
Naturalism is full of it. Stories like that often depict a chain of events with the very first one often dertermining the woes that will follow (what would have happened had the d'Urbervilles not learnt that they were of old noble stock? They would probably not have sent their daughter away, she would not have got to know Alec, etc., etc.).

About the BBC adaptation. I think the accents were good (as far as I could tell, that is), the images were great, the only thing was that they completely missed the point that Tess is not a mere tragedy, it's a downright butchery of a naÔve girl. It was too soft.
Also total disregard for commonplace imagery in horses did not help. At some point at the end, when Tess is working there on that harsh farm in that desolate and industrialised spot of Devon (?), Alec trots in on a white horse. I mean, he's not her romantic prince. I grant you, the horse worked well in the grey and black background, but it wasn't ideal. Just a detail, but it was full of this stuff. The compelling scene with a reference to Paradise Lost with the burning stacks of weeds was toned down to a sunny day with a little bit of burning stuff on the foreground. Someone clearly missed the point that this story is not about decisions, it is about what happens to you regardless. What is in fate's or God's plan for you will happen. If not tomorrow, then a little later, whatever you do about it.
It was a bit sad, because the BBC always does so well on an image level.

Hi, there!

Regarding white horse Alec rides like a prince, and dark horse Angel rides, I took it as a kind of mixed symbols or irony the filmmaker intended. Both men have good and bad qualities, not black and white. Angel is supposed to be Tess’ salvation and turns out not, and Alec comes back as a reformed rake who actually helps her.

This adaptation portrays Tess as a passive object, and a mere victim of cruelty of men, circumstances, and society. The filmmaker intentionally strips off decisions/choices she makes in the novel, for instance, her return to Alec as his mistress the second time was her choice in the novel, but in the movie she was forced by Alec and Tess’ mother, Joan. And rape. It completely cancels Tess' sexual autonomy implied in ambiguity of the narrative.

I don’t quite agree with you on that “this story is not about decisions”. In the novel, I thought this is about decisions as well as circumstances. Tess was very passive and most of the time she needed to be forced or pushed to make decisions, but she still made her own decisions. The decisions and choices she made actually contributed to doom her to a tragedy. For example, she didn't tell Angel her past till too late (circumstance worked as well). She gave up on Angel (I don't blame on her for this, it was too long) and got back with Alec, even she had a choice of asking Clares for help ( she herself even said to Alec that she could ask her husband’s parents for money so she doesn't need his. Also, Angel thought she might have gotten hold of her jewelry and sold it to get money when he found her staying at the expensive boarding house like the Herons, so I assume there were more ways available for her to get money); if she had waited longer there would be no problem. And the murder of Alec.

In this adaptation, Alec’s and Angel’s character are both misinterpreted; Angel is too good and more sympathetic while Alec as total jerk and despicable more than he is in the novel. The main reason for Alec’s is the writer’s decision to depict what happened between Tess and Alec in the Chase as clear cut rape. By removing ambiguity in the novel and making it rape, they are forced to portray Alec as a jerk more than he is in the novel. The filmmaker most likely intended to defend Tess’ purity and to justify her extreme action- the murder of Alec, by making him a ruthless rapist; so that the audience feels that he actually deserves it and no sympathy for him. In the making of Tess on DVD, the screen writer David Nicholls said he wanted to portray Angel as sympathetic as possible, to make the film more love story. (I was surprised David Nicholls was actually a fan of Hardy, I thought he never read the book, for making “Tess of the d'Urberville” like this.) The result is that they actually succeed in drawing more sympathy for Tess, than Hardy’s novel. However, this is not Hardy’s Tess.

Hans Matheson's (who played Alec) comments in the interview was interesting, he said something like, the thing that attracted him the most is the psychology (particularly in this adaptation, not the novel), the victim and the perpetrator, this is actually a study, need each other to feed the drama.

kev67
02-11-2013, 07:17 PM
In this adaptation, Alecís and Angelís character are both misinterpreted; Angel is too good and more sympathetic while Alec as total jerk and despicable more than he is in the novel. The main reason for Alecís is the writerís decision to depict what happened between Tess and Alec in the Chase as clear cut rape. By removing ambiguity in the novel and making it rape, they are forced to portray Alec as a jerk more than he is in the novel. The filmmaker most likely intended to defend Tessí purity and to justify her extreme action- the murder of Alec, by making him a ruthless rapist; so that the audience feels that he actually deserves it and no sympathy for him. In the making of Tess on DVD, the screen writer David Nicholls said he wanted to portray Angel as sympathetic as possible, to make the film more love story. (I was surprised David Nicholls was actually a fan of Hardy, I thought he never read the book, for making ďTess of the d'UrbervilleĒ like this.) The result is that they actually succeed in drawing more sympathy for Tess, than Hardyís novel. However, this is not Hardyís Tess.



That sounds interesting. I have not watched this adaption. although what you say makes sense. Alec may have raped her, although I doubt he used violence or even the threat of violence. He may have took advantage while she was sleeping. I don't know how that happens, at least when the woman is not incapacitated by drink or drugs, and I wouldn't want to start speculating on that on an internet forum. It could be what Alec did was just short of rape. Maybe he caught her at a weak moment. Maybe he did rape her but she had sex with him on further occasions, possibly in return for a horse to replace Prince. In an earlier draft of the story, Alec tricked Tess by marrying her in a sham wedding. However, whatever happened, Angel has to have some reason to object to Tess's sexual history. He cannot really hold having been raped against her. That would make him less sympathetic, not more sympathetic.

Wayne Jr
02-15-2013, 02:48 AM
kev67,

You are right. If Tess was raped and it was only one time thing, Angel’s judgment is absolutely unjust and cruel, so he wouldn't be sympathetic at all in that matter.(If I were him, I would be more supportive for her trauma for rape.)

In the film, Tess’ confession itself is not shown, but after the confession, those conversation is exchanged, which is not in the novel.
Angel: He took you by force. Tess: I was compelled. Angel: You allowed yourself to be seduced. Your virtue was his reward. Tess: Not like that, you are twisting my word. (That’s what I remember.) She never said a word rape, and gave Angel a reason to reject her. I don’t get the reason for Tess saying it, but that’s what filmmaker did. Angel was over all portrayed nice, you will see. I don’t think it is not necessarily bad, because in the book, at least for me, Angel is absolutely unlikable. (Redmayne who played Angel basically called Angel a villain in the interview.) If Angel were more likable or deserved Tess, I would feel sympathy for Tess a little bit more. (Here is my problem, why did Hardy make him so jerk?)

I don’t know what happened between Tess and Alec in the woods of the Chase, since it is not described, and I am not going to get into that topic right now, but I perceived that they became lovers afterwards, didn't they? They had an affair for some several weeks until she decided to leave him, and I thought it was clearly implied.

Maple
02-22-2013, 01:08 AM
Seems to me no film of Tess does Hardy's story justice. Hardy made of point of intensifying his stories' scenes and experiences. In spite of the challenge Hardy made his intensified representations seem more real than life. As an example, he takes the dance scene that precedes the Chase scene so real and pulsating with sweat, sound and emotion that it defies a film maker to represent it. It's as if life is an inadequate representation of Hardy's full, intensified description of life. And, he knows how to intensify the moment by leaving it alone. In the last chapter readers can't help but imagine Tess in her cell and placing themselves in her thoughts. It's pure torture to think about. Imagine her stepping forward to the gallows platform and having the noose drawn against her neck. It seems so wrong as to be impossible, and yet we don't doubt it. We might wonder what Angel, Lisa-Lu and Tess said to each at their final meeting in the prison, and yet it doesn't matter. Tess is gone and Wintoncester goes on as though she'd never lived. Tess who to some readers comes so central, pure and essential has been totally erased. Pleasing and profitable movies can be made of this novel, but for me none can merit the story as Hardy wrote it.

kiki1982
02-22-2013, 07:13 AM
I grant you, there could have been something of a hidden symbolic meaning in a black horse for Angel, but Alec doesn't come and save Tess at that grey farm, on the contrary, as the reference to Paradise Lost denotes later when she is working on the field (almost in Hell, so to say), and Alec turns up, he is not a good influence. His reformation is a shallow one, as is apparent from how quickly he changes back to his old self. All because of Tess, as he says. Yeah right. Real rakes do not easily reform. As the PL reference lets shine through, he is there not to merely give her a little nudge into the abbyss (the rape or at least sexual encounter they had in the Chase), but to really pull her into its deepest regions (the kind of hovering spirit of the underworld she has become when Angel sees her back). From a soiled woman she can fall only deeper by becoming a mistress, after that discarded because her youth and beauty woudl fade, after which she would become a prostitute. The Victorian mind was pretty straight about that.

The sad thing in Naturalist novels is that decisions indeed don't matter. Whatever decision a character makes, his fate will be the same. I.e. Tess would have been hanged for murder (or at least died early), maybe not because she killed Alec, but because of something else. She would have been raped anyway, whether her father had known about the d'Urberviles or not.


You are right. If Tess was raped and it was only one time thing, Angelís judgment is absolutely unjust and cruel, so he wouldn't be sympathetic at all in that matter.(If I were him, I would be more supportive for her trauma for rape.)

That is a total misconception. Angel's reaction is logical and unavoidable. Hardy obviously thought that was unjust, on a human level, but still it was logical, as the priest's reaction is logical when he refuses to burry Sorrow in a consecrated grave. Unjust definitely, but unavoidable.
Hence why Tess's mother said not to tell Angel. He would not have noticed (there were ample ways to get around it, pig's blood being one). If she tells him, though, she is no longer a virgin (a matter of course), her character is not as pure as he thought it was (the only thing a woman really had to recommend her) and who is to say she would not do it again, will he be sure his children are really his?
To modern people this is unjust and cruel, but to Victorians soiled women were prostitutes, they were dirty things never to be seen. Indeed Jude features a family with several children, with two parents who love each other but can't marry. SPOILER They are eventually compelled to throw in the twoel, because that fact follows them everywhere. SPOILER OVER I think there would have been very few men who would have taken a wife who wasn't a virgin and hadn't been married before.

Tess, in her naivety that Angel loves her and has a wider look on things than a Victorian one, tells him because she wants to be straight and because he confesses to her he had a fling. She feels stronger because of that. That is her big mistake (and what her mother warned her for). Men were allowed to do this, women were not. Indeed, the only ground for divorce was if the wife cheated, and then the other man was a co-respondent. To get rid of a man, he needed to be violent and a serial womaniser with several mistresses on the go at one time, combined. And even then he mostly got the children. The point being that women were supposed to be pure and homely.


in the book, at least for me, Angel is absolutely unlikable. (Redmayne who played Angel basically called Angel a villain in the interview.) If Angel were more likable or deserved Tess, I would feel sympathy for Tess a little bit more. (Here is my problem, why did Hardy make him so jerk?)

To me he is unlikable, because Angel is basically two-faced. Oh he is so aloof of everything, he's so broad-minded etc. and then when push comes to shove (his wife is not a virgin), he turns into this Victorian thing his father is, the very thing he despises. The only thing what's missing is really the fact that he would have asked for a dowry. Eventually he turns likable again, but it is too late. Still, the very fact that he is more Victorian than he wishes, that he is shaped by his father (although he wishes this were not true) and that he cannot consciously get over this, is also a sad Naturalist tragedy: whatever he does, his thoughts are unavoidable.

Maple
02-24-2013, 01:14 AM
Kiki, you said, "To me he is unlikable, because Angel is basically two-faced." You're right that Angel is two faced, but most of us are. Angel, like the rest of us, is caught between the ideals he was taught and his human nature. Hardy shows Angel caught between his Victorian/Christian teachings of the ideal and his human instincts, leading us to believe the human instinct is better. But, as to villainy, much of the injustice Angel does is punishing to himself. The sleepwalking scene displays his love for Tess smoldering beneath his repressive obedience to his upbringing and acceptance of societal norms. Angel is his own victim as much as Tess is his victim.

Alec is without ideals, though he can make a pretense of observing them. He puts nothing above his human instincts, and we might think a dab of the self-repression in Angel would benefit him. Personally I doubt Hardy was interested in whether Angel or Alec was the greater villain. I think the two were meant to complement Hardy's message. Tess is the ideal--fully human, loving totally, unreservedly putting nothing above love. Alec's love is deformed and self-centered. Angel's, though repressed, ultimately overcomes his repression and his character growth expresses hopefulness.

Wayne Jr
03-06-2013, 03:37 PM
That is a total misconception. Angel's reaction is logical and unavoidable. Hardy obviously thought that was unjust, on a human level, but still it was logical, as the priest's reaction is logical when he refuses to burry Sorrow in a consecrated grave. Unjust definitely, but unavoidable.
Hence why Tess's mother said not to tell Angel. He would not have noticed (there were ample ways to get around it, pig's blood being one). If she tells him, though, she is no longer a virgin (a matter of course), her character is not as pure as he thought it was (the only thing a woman really had to recommend her) and who is to say she would not do it again, will he be sure his children are really his?.

My original point of my last post was Angel's harsh judgement was NOT ONLY for just she was raped, but for her sexual discretion in her original relationship with Alec, the fact that she became his mistress after the night at the Chase.

So you are saying Angel's reaction is logical and unavoidable, even it was only rape. I still think Rape is still extreme case, and paternal uncertainty doesn't apply to rape, does it? Ignoring whether it was just rape or more than rape, I agree that not many men back then wish to marry an unvirgine, and I can understand how Angel felt at the time of the confession. I think anybody has Angel in themselves, and I had Angel in myself, too. When I was young, I met a perfect man to marry, with good morals. One day, he confessed his past, it was so sudden and I reacted, and judged him. I soon realized it wasn't a big deal, and apologized him how I reacted, but he couldn't get over the fact I judged him and didn't forgive him right away, we eventually broke up mainly because of that. What he wanted from me was just forgiveness, and that was the most important thing for him and for virtue generally.
By that experience, I think Angel's reaction was expected, but his decision of abandoning Tess was no way to be justified. Especially they were already married. He felt he was tricked or betrayed. He only thought about his feelings, and completely luck of empathy, and luck of FORGIVENESS towards Tess. If he really loved her, even he reacted, he could've overcome in time. That's why I don't think he really loved her, and he wasn't worthy of her.
By the way, for Jude, i thought they were able to marry if they wanted, since both divorce was completed, and cousins were able to marry that time, but they chose not to marry, because of Sue's idealism.

I think, Angel was the real demon. His sir mane " Clare" means " bright" in french (cliff notes). Brightest Angel is Lucifer.
He was a fallen angel. Alec dominated Tess's body, but Angel dominated Tess's mind. She worship Angel like god and believed whatever he said (Tess's fault too). He made her unbeliever. He dominated other milkmaids' minds, too, and harmed them, (Retty, Marian, and Izz). Angel already proved his worthlessness as her "guardian angel", and did nothing for her as her husband. Angel destroyed Tess's soul by abandoning her, and eventually lead Tess to final destruction, murder of Alec and her death. He most likely continues this pattern with Liza-Lu after Tess' death. History repeats itself. Angel seemed to have changed when he came back, but he most likely return to the class, because his change was not very convincing.

As for Alec, I think people are too harsh for Alec. That's how Hardy wished for, I guess, no sympathy for Alec. In fact, what he did to Tess was terrible, However, I think, he repented his past conduct and changed, and loved Tess purely and believed in her purity. People make mistakes but if they repent it, and make amends, God forgive them for that. And that's the life is all about, learning. Alec is the only one who proved it, with CHARITY. (neither Tess nor Angel showed it). He offered Tess a marriage, and he offered help for her and her husband when he found out she was already married. He never struck her back in spite of her violence towards him. He first wanted to replace her husband's place for helping her, but in the end, he really cared for Tess's well being, and her whole family, and he offered them to stay in his house in Trantridge just to make up with her without nothing in return. He is the one who made Tess realize Angel's injustice towards her. He was the her real husband for her financially and phisycally (Tess admitted it when she confronted with Angel. Hardy added in his own study copy in 1912; "He had been as husband to me: you never had!") Then, what did he get? A murder. I really wish that he had kept his faith, so his poor soul would be saved after his death.

Wayne Jr
03-07-2013, 10:38 AM
The sad thing in Naturalist novels is that decisions indeed don't matter. Whatever decision a character makes, his fate will be the same. I.e. Tess would have been hanged for murder (or at least died early), maybe not because she killed Alec, but because of something else. She would have been raped anyway, whether her father had known about the d'Urberviles or not.



I see what you are saying. Fatalism, and Hardy's immanent will. Human can't control the fate. However, different decision leads different outcome, right? but all end up the same... Bull**** Hardy.

kiki1982
03-07-2013, 01:11 PM
Kiki, you said, "To me he is unlikable, because Angel is basically two-faced." You're right that Angel is two faced, but most of us are. Angel, like the rest of us, is caught between the ideals he was taught and his human nature. Hardy shows Angel caught between his Victorian/Christian teachings of the ideal and his human instincts, leading us to believe the human instinct is better. But, as to villainy, much of the injustice Angel does is punishing to himself. The sleepwalking scene displays his love for Tess smoldering beneath his repressive obedience to his upbringing and acceptance of societal norms. Angel is his own victim as much as Tess is his victim.

Alec is without ideals, though he can make a pretense of observing them. He puts nothing above his human instincts, and we might think a dab of the self-repression in Angel would benefit him. Personally I doubt Hardy was interested in whether Angel or Alec was the greater villain. I think the two were meant to complement Hardy's message. Tess is the ideal--fully human, loving totally, unreservedly putting nothing above love. Alec's love is deformed and self-centered. Angel's, though repressed, ultimately overcomes his repression and his character growth expresses hopefulness.

You are right about that. Neither men are perfect. The only one who seems to be perfect and whose perfection is challenged by the imperfections of others, is Tess herself.

Indeed, Angel's change expresses hopefulness, although I don't believe that that is for a truly happy life, unless he doesn't feel obliged to Liza-Lu.


My original point of my last post was Angel's harsh judgement was NOT ONLY for just she was raped, but for her sexual discretion in her original relationship with Alec, the fact that she became his mistress after the night at the Chase.

No, maybe not. You could be right that she became his mistress for a while. Certainly the tone in which Alec speaks to her is quite familiar, not at all like a master who has had sex with her (poss. forcibly) once (unless he is vilely condescending), but the fact that she was his mistress or not is irrelevant in Victorian terms. Was she a virgin? No? Then she was tainted. As Hardy says in the very last sentences of where she is deflowered, we may say, 'An immeasurable social chasm was to divide our heroine's thereafter from that previous self of hers who stepped from her mother's door to try her fortune at Trantridge poultry-farm.' Hardy doesn't even keep it for the next chapter, where Tess leaves Trantridge and has her talk with Alec (as I said in reasonable familiarity). Hardy says it at their very first real encounter, although there have been some before, in which she was glaringly naÔve.
Victorians, certainly in the evangelical sense as we see them here, are pretty simple and straightforward in these matters. Not being a virgin when you marry for the first time as a woman is immoral.


So you are saying Angel's reaction is logical and unavoidable, even it was only rape. I still think Rape is still extreme case, and paternal uncertainty doesn't apply to rape, does it?

But that's where you go wrong. There was something like a person's 'character', which involved not their personality as we consider now, but a person's conduct in society and how their conduct compared to the morals of the day. Tess is presumed to have an untainted character (from thence the pure woman), but she is tainted. A person's character went a long way. It was mainly along that road that people like Angels went in marrying others, not by love in itself. He needed a strong woman, obviously also faithful, to go to Brazil with. Hence why he rejects the school teacher from back home. She's going to be faithful, but she would be useless at farm work. When he says that 'foregiveness is not in the case', that '[she was] one person and [then] another', he exactly means that. He has married an impure woman with a tainted character, he has made a fool of himself.
Even until the '70s, a woman who got raped (if Tess was raped) had brought it on herself. There are still people who believe that now. What makes Tess innocent in this case? Of course, we all believe she is innocent, but that 's not the point.


By that experience, I think Angel's reaction was expected, but his decision of abandoning Tess was no way to be justified. Especially they were already married. He felt he was tricked or betrayed. He only thought about his feelings, and completely luck of empathy, and luck of FORGIVENESS towards Tess. If he really loved her, even he reacted, he could've overcome in time. That's why I don't think he really loved her, and he wasn't worthy of her.
By the way, for Jude, i thought they were able to marry if they wanted, since both divorce was completed, and cousins were able to marry that time, but they chose not to marry, because of Sue's idealism.

As he says it has nothing to with forgiveness. Hardy used the provocative subtitle of a pure woman for Tess, because that was exactly what she wasn't in the eyes of all true Victorians. And yet, the scene where Angel rejects her asks implicitly the question if she is not? And why Angel should be forgiven for his weakness, if you like, and she not. Are we not all equal? No, it seems. Angel's rejection is the more grinding, because unlike with him, we know what happened during those months and how Alec enticed her, how her mother was useless and how she was a bit naÔve. On a human level it is sad that she will have to pay for it for the rest of her days, and yet, most poeple, if they didn't know her (and Angel doesn't really), they would condemn her like him. It asks its Victorian readers to think about those well-established double standards.


As for Alec, I think people are too harsh for Alec. That's how Hardy wished for, I guess, no sympathy for Alec. In fact, what he did to Tess was terrible, However, I think, he repented his past conduct and changed, and loved Tess purely and believed in her purity. People make mistakes but if they repent it, and make amends, God forgive them for that. And that's the life is all about, learning. Alec is the only one who proved it, with CHARITY. (neither Tess nor Angel showed it). He offered Tess a marriage, and he offered help for her and her husband when he found out she was already married. He never struck her back in spite of her violence towards him. He first wanted to replace her husband's place for helping her, but in the end, he really cared for Tess's well being, and her whole family, and he offered them to stay in his house in Trantridge just to make up with her without nothing in return. He is the one who made Tess realize Angel's injustice towards her. He was the her real husband for her financially and phisycally (Tess admitted it when she confronted with Angel. Hardy added in his own study copy in 1912; "He had been as husband to me: you never had!") Then, what did he get? A murder. I really wish that he had kept his faith, so his poor soul would be saved after his death.

He saw Tess as an easy target, though, and never meant anything serious, although he conspired from the beginning to seduce her and then throw her away like a used rag, calling her 'crummy' after their first meeting. That's totally different from another rake called Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre. Although Jane suspects him from not being serious, he clearly means it from the start. Even though she is beneath him, but he is in love. Alec has clearly no such intentions.

Alec's repentence is short-lived, as is apparent when he meets Tess again. Maybe it is her misfortune that she is already married and he can't marry her.
In making her his mistress (because there was no way out for her, poor girl), he did not help her at all. Let alone you could call it 'charity'. He gave her family charity because he knew that was how he could force her. Her mother only cared about her own material well-being and thus would have forced Tess to become his mistress. Tess was not so strong-willed as that she could reject that, also not because she had brothers and sisters to care for after the death of her feckless father. The problem there is that she is forced to degrade herself into the role of a prostitute: if Alec has enough of her after a while (maybe years, maybe twenty years, who knows, maybe even when he dies or when his money runs out; he was making quite a case for the latter), she would end up a social paria, with children probably to boot and no-one wanting to employ her (if she could support herself and her family with that, that is). Think of Fantine in Les Misťrables. The only road open to her eventuually would be the one she had gone for the last years: become a prostitute, until her beauty faded and then she would even have lost that.
A loose alliance such as Tess and Alec's would not have lasted as long as you think. What does he do when Tess is emotional after sending Angel away? He scolds her at least. If that is a man who loves a woman, then I would be concerned what hate is like.

As to Jude, I thought that Sue and Jude were both married at the point where they went for it. She to his old teacher Mr Phillotson and he still to his wife, although admittedly the latter had left him for America. I suppose he could have divorced her on grounds of infidelity, but Sue could not have divorced, unless Phillotson had petitioned for one, but he is a bit inert at best. Sue had married, as Jude couldn't propose, because he was married to his wife (who had left him then already). That was her downfall.

Wayne Jr
03-07-2013, 09:40 PM
I don't see where the argument is going any more...., but As for Clare's judgement, I totaly agree that it represents Victorian sexual double standard and convention, and how people judge Tess as a fallen woman, which Hardy is trying to critisize.
However, what I am trying to say is, it doesn't mean that Angel's Judgement and action are justified. Even Victorian society, there must have been some men who didn't care, like Tess's mother said that some husband didn't care or was used to the idea, and do you think men like Jude, or Giles, or even Alec (of course) ever care? Furthermore, Clare shouldn't care, because he is supposed to be a FREE THINKER and DOESN'T BELIEVE GOD (chastity is a Christian moral).

By the way, 'crumby' means ' attractive', not negative.

Oh, I posted Tess's Alternative ending that I made on the other thread. Hope you guys like it.

kiki1982
03-08-2013, 06:08 AM
Crummy means not attractive (maybe with a b, but this is not with a b). It means shabby or cheap, even miserable or wretched. So Alec's intentions are clear to the reader from the start.

But you hit the spot why Angel is unlikable: he is two-faced. As Magpie and I agreed, he has to acknowledge that he is not the free thinker he thought he was. Angel's reaction to Tess's revelation is justified in a Victorian sense, although it is not just (or that is what Hardy wishes to come across).
There would have been very few educated people who thought that Tess's problem wasn't a serious one. Granted Tess's mother, but look what she made of her life, including letting her little boy wait on the stairs while his father and mother got drunk. Drunkenness was a notorious problem and disapproved of by the church. She is also a farmer's girl and these people were more acquainted with hanky panky in the hay stack. If something came about, they were usually forced to marry (and possibly be very unhappy afterwards). In the drawing rooms of the high classes, though, there was no hanky panky, or there shouldn't have been anyway. As the century drew on, it became more and more inexcusable to be unvirtuous in this respect. Tess is of that age, maybe her mother less so. This was mainly fuelled by Victoria and her hubby (and then her languishing widowhood). There would have been very few of Hardy's readers who approved of non-virgins who had never been married, for any man. That was putting your head in a hornets' nest.

Wayne Jr
03-08-2013, 03:33 PM
Crummy means not attractive (maybe with a b, but this is not with a b). It means shabby or cheap, even miserable or wretched. So Alec's intentions are clear to the reader from the start.

crumby; an attractive girl.

http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/tess-of-the-durbervilles/summary-analysis/phase-first-maiden/chapters-5-8.html

I don't like Angel at all, not just because he is two- faced. I don't like ANYTHING about him. How he thinks, how he acts, how he treats Tess, how he thinks about Tess and other people. He is a snob, a hypocrite, an idiot, a dork, he is immature, spoiled, self-centered, cruel, he has no humor or wit, has no future perspective, and has no balls. His idealism and his denial of God are not based on anything, he is just a big mouth. His maturity level is probably 15 year old; high school kid level, not 26 years old, for sure.
He is the most unlikable fictional character I ever came across. He reminds me of Mr. Fitzpiers in Woodlanders, or Sue Bridehead; idealistic, unbeliever, cruel and the heart braker. (I like her as a New Woman, and unsexualized woman)

If I were Tess, I never ever fall for him. She fell for him mainly because other girls were into him, he was moral and opposite of Alec (turned out to be just the same, or worse), and he didn't dance with her; the rejection, the psychology (lol). Her worship for him was described as ill-omen. I was wondering, was he super handsome or something, for Tess and other milkmaids were in love with him. That I can't imagine from his personality.. If he was a handsome dude, he wouldn't act like a dork. I don't see any description about his appearance in the book anywhere. Is there any, besides he had a brown moustache and a beard?

kiki1982
03-09-2013, 06:28 AM
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/crummy

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the first sense to which I refer is first seen in the 16th century and then further developed by 1859, where yours dates from the 18th century.
The two are possible, of course, however, I have read enough of this genre in different languages to know that Hardy meant to imply at least the two senes with that word, and not only passed Alec off as a connoisseur of beautiful women. Alec remains the villain in the beginning. In this genre, of which Hardy is more or less the only representative in English literature (excl. American), the clouds must gather before any of the characters know it. Though the reader must be able to look further than the horizon of the characters. If you take that view, it is well-nigh impossible that Alec found Tess only attractive, as you attest. Something which the definition in use at Tess's publication in 1891 suggests. His speech there must be a sign to the reader of what he is about to do and Tess, poor girl, has no idea. It must grind.
Although the addition of 'beautiful' makes the whole situation even more grinding.

It is not because Cliff Notes says something that it is true. That interpretation is a bit too simple.

It is not because you don't like a character, that he/she has to become something he was not in the original. Angel is not meant to be a villain, although he is weak.

Wayne Jr
03-09-2013, 02:45 PM
You sound like you are offended, and I didn't mean to offend you, by "crummy", or maybe Alec, or Angel?
I just shared my personal opinion about the fictional characters, and you don't need to agree with me at all and I respect your opinion. (By the way, my opinions and interpretation are not based on cliff notes. I quated it because I found it.)
Pleae dont take it personally or even serious. I'll shut my mouth.

Make peace?

kiki1982
03-10-2013, 07:59 AM
Not offended. I can't be offended, because it is not my novel ;). But at least consider that Alec is your quintessential English rake and Angel a weak-minded person. Whatever a reader thinks personally about a character (of course Angel is heartless and contemptible when he leaves his wife, even if she were free to ask his parents for money), the novel's author himself may not have wanted to express exactly that.

:wave:

Wayne Jr
03-10-2013, 10:59 AM
Glad to hear that. Maybe you misunderstood my original intention. I'm not defending Alec, at all. Alec and Angel are both douche bags. I already said Hardy woudn't redeem Alec, and I know that. He is the tempter, Satan in this movel.
My original intention was, in my opinion, as well as Alec, Angel also played Demon to her fate. That's all.:):):)

kev67
05-02-2013, 07:27 PM
I enjoyed the Polanski one- visually it looks spot on.

The Gemma Arterton one is probably the best I've seen so far. Tess is meant to have a womanly figure and Gemma Arteton is suitably beautiful. My only problem is that Eddie Redmayne looks too weedy to be a farmer.

I haven't seen the 1996 TV movie but will check it out.

About the Polanski film looking spot on, it won three Oscars in 1981 for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.

kelby_lake
05-04-2013, 05:16 AM
About the Polanski film looking spot on, it won three Oscars in 1981 for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.

They were well-deserved in my opinion though ironically it wasn't Wessex countryside but Brittany countryside. I thought the strawberry scene- ooh, I love that scene- was particularly well-done.

Wayne Jr
05-04-2013, 10:38 AM
Polasnski's Tess is a masterpiece. Utter perfection.
I found a good article about the film to share.

http://www.americancinemapapers.com/files/TESS.htm

cafolini
05-04-2013, 12:13 PM
Roman Polanski's movies are very meaninful. I recommend Rosemary's Baby.