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Thread: Tess - Strong or weak character?

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    Tess - Strong or weak character?

    Hey, I'm trying to analyse her character in depth, and I just can't decide if she truly is strong or weak?

    She is weak as she lets men and her devotion to her family rule her life. She goes to the Stoke-Durberville household on her parents say so. She then lets herself let Alec treat her awefully(obviously, I doubt whether she had much to do with that). She then forgets her stance to never marry and marries Angel, who when rejects her, basically thinks of herself as his slave. She then pines for him for years until Alec comes along and she gives into him. Ok, he did manipulate her into thinking Angel wouldn't ever come back, however, she was supposed to love Angel with her whole being, and to me that should mean more. She seems to have been just pushed into situations, rather than making decisions herself and choosing what she wants.

    However, she's so strong. She Christens her baby and then asks the Parson is it real and for a Christian burial, she picks herself up time after time getting numerous jobs to support herself. She makes the BIGGEST sacrifice by killing Alec to be with Angel. She puts her family first and actually gets together with Alec for the sake of her family, even though she doesn't love her and she has to see everyday, the face of her rapist, father of her dead baby. She endures such hard work and just gets on with it, without hesitation or moaning.

    So as you can see I'm in two halves. What are your opinions? Is Tess Strong or Weak? I'd be happy to hear more points of view.

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    Last edited by NoName; 11-03-2007 at 12:29 PM.
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    hello people alexsears's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoName View Post
    Hey, I'm trying to analyse her character in depth, and I just can't decide if she truly is strong or weak?

    She is weak as she lets men and her devotion to her family rule her life. She goes to the Stoke-Durberville household on her parents say so. She then lets herself let Alec treat her awefully(obviously, I doubt whether she had much to do with that). She then forgets her stance to never marry and marries Angel, who when rejects her, basically thinks of herself as his slave. She then pines for him for years until Alec comes along and she gives into him. Ok, he did manipulate her into thinking Angel wouldn't ever come back, however, she was supposed to love Angel with her whole being, and to me that should mean more. She seems to have been just pushed into situations, rather than making decisions herself and choosing what she wants.

    However, she's so strong. She Christens her baby and then asks the Parson is it real and for a Christian burial, she picks herself up time after time getting numerous jobs to support herself. She makes the BIGGEST sacrifice by killing Alec to be with Angel. She puts her family first and actually gets together with Alec for the sake of her family, even though she doesn't love her and she has to see everyday, the face of her rapist, father of her dead baby. She endures such hard work and just gets on with it, without hesitation or moaning.

    So as you can see I'm in two halves. What are your opinions? Is Tess Strong or Weak? I'd be happy to hear more points of view.

    x
    isn't everyone weak somhow we all got a weak side and a strong side just make sure neither takes over that could be trouble.

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    Any other opinions? I would be very grateful!

    x
    Do you think about me now and then?

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    Rosevn Rosevn's Avatar
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    I am after Alexsears. No one can ever be always strong or week all the time She has both that strong and week parts in her... Her problem might be that she doesn't live for her own sake much
    Change is the spice of life
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    LOL

  5. #5
    of course she s strong! she went through alot and still cariied on going

  6. #6
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Hardy presents her as very passive for most of it. Though when she speaks she asserts power, her actions are more passive.

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    Registered User janesmith's Avatar
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    Hardy has been described as being "a little in love" with Tess. She epitomised the late-Victorian ideal of woman and femininity although Hardy did attempt to challenge contemporary gender stereotypes. Undeniably, Tess is at times portrayed as a woman of courage and stoicism, however Hardy also makes it clear that Tess is a victim of heredity and providence. Hope this helps.

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    She's probably not very strong, but she's lovely.

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    Registered User paradoxical's Avatar
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    I think Tess was a strong woman, despite everything that happened. She was of good moral character as well. Just trapped in circumstances she could not control. Like Hardy's subtitle says, she was "A Pure Woman".
    "I have never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude." - Henry David Thoreau

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Tess is conscientious and considerate to a fault. She's unwilling to find fault in others. She's also a little too proud and won't beg for help, or stick up for herself when she needs to. She worries too much what people will think of her. I wouldn't say she was passive though.

  11. #11
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Actually, she does seem to lack a little resolve. She tries, but sometimes she finds it too emotionally painful to push through. I would not say she is passive, but she is sometime deferential to people she loves. She is very deferential to Angel.

  12. #12
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Prompted by another thread, I have been comparing Tess with Elizabeth Bennet from P&P. I'd have to say, Lizzie would not stand five minutes of this 5h1t. Both Angel and Alec would be given their marching orders. OTOH, I don't think Lizzie would last long on a farm.

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    I think that one of her weakest moments was turning home without seeing Mr Clare when she had walked 15 miles. She is strong in many other ways, however, and did not really have much guidance in the way of leadership from either of her parents.

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    Tess' last minute decision not to plead the Clare's for assistance is probably the most frequently cited example of her passivity. To me, it's more the opposite. She felt responsible for Angel abandoning her and worthless for committing this "wrong." Consumed with this guilt (however miscalculated) she felt unworthy to plead for help from the parents of the man she wronged. To me, that bottomless determination to abide by her sense of justice exhibits strength of character.
    Last edited by Maple; 08-28-2021 at 11:59 PM.

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