Thomas Hardy, influenced by classic readings, presents Tess’ bad fate throughout the novel. The ancient Greeks used fate as a guiding force in their plays. To the Greeks (and later Romans) the Fates were, literally, three goddesses-Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos-who control human destiny and life. Hardy believed that everyone is a toy in the hands of fate, and that fate is particularly harsh to women, this thought is clearly shown and developed in his portrayal of Tess in Tess Of The D’Ubervilles. Hardy uses different techniques to present this ineluctable luck of Tess’.
Throughout phase the first Thomas Hardy assembles a causal chain of events. It begins with the news from Parson Tringham of the D’Ubervilles ancestry, which seems to augur a hopeful change in their fortunes, however this is a technique used by Hardy to build suspense, playing with emotion, to make a bigger impact. However the change is not a positive one as John Durbeyfield expects, but a tragic one that destroys the life of an innocent young lady and leads onto Tess’ ill fate. After discovering the ancestry John then makes his way to Rolliver’s Inn to gather strength. There he gets drunk and is unable to take the hives to the market.
Therefore Tess goes in place of him even though she is an irresponsible child. During the trip their horse, Prince dies, and Tess blames herself. Due to this she is more perceptible to her mothers wish of her going to work in the D’Ubervilles household as she feels she owes it to her family after being responsible for Princes death. Upon arriving at the household, and meeting Alec, Tess has an ill fate bestowed to her. This structural technique is used by Hardy to suggest that Tess isn’t just going through an unlucky stage in her life, instead the ill fates are conspiring against her.
From reading this first phase the readers view of Tess’ life is full of horrid fates each on developing in size creating a sense of inevitability. Due to the constant unlucky scenarios presented in this phase the audience shall expect things to improve for Tess as a novel usually contains bad some bad luck for the protagonist but leads onto good ones, and finishing with a happy ending. However Hardy here plays with emotion and at the end of this phase builds suspense for the audience as they don’t understand what lays in store for Tess.
Thomas Hardy uses imagery in this novel to symbolize Tess’. He refers to the colour red, which symbolizes: danger; hell; passion; anger; death. When Tess is first mentioned in the novel Hardy chooses to distinguish Tess with a red ribbon in her hair, separating her from all the other girls present. However the audience won’t make the direct link with this as Hardy doesn’t go into depth about it. Hardy mentions her red mouth describing it in depth, illustrating every curve and shape, ‘and her lower lip had a way of thrusting the middle of her top one upward.
This detail description of Tess’ mouth informs the audience of her purity and innocence of her un-kissed lips, and how that she is still a young woman. The audience can then allow themselves to feel how Tess must have felt during several of her ordeals. Another example of the use of red is the blood of Prince, which splashes on her white dress. This is portrayed as a symbol of Tess’ innocence being disturbed and destroyed by this passionate colour. Hardy also refers to hunting in this phase, another literal technique to present Tess’ ill fate.
This symbolizes how Tess has been hunted down by her fate and is the victim in the novel. The market town where Tess is before her seduction by Alec is named ‘Chaseborough’. This is linked to the thought of Tess being chased by her fate and by Alec, becoming the scene of her seduction. These literal techniques incorporated by Hardy subtly hints to the reader of Tess’ ill fates, and allows the readers to make the connection . Hardy also incorporates the colour red to allow Tess to think of it as an ill omen herself as well as the readers – an omen occurring literally.
When Tess pricks herself with the red rose given by Alec she bleeds. Here she personally considers it as a bad sign of knowing Alec. Hardy’s narrative techniques assist the audience with further understanding of certain information and points in the nove, allowing them to be more aware of a character or scenarios. Also it aids the reader with what they should be wondering at this point at the novel, hinting for them to think further in depth about it. He describes Alec as: ‘the blood-red ray in the spectrum of her young life,’ explaining to the audience that Alec is the man who disrupts Tess’ blissful childhood.
This way of describing Alec creates the impression of what an interruption he has had on Tess’ life, also the reference to red once again links in with the horrors of Tess’ fate. At the end of phase the first Hardy uses narrative intervention to look for an explanation for the ill omens bestowed to Tess up this point in the novel. ‘But, might some say, where was Tess’ guardian angel? ‘ This interruption by Hardy accompanies the reader’s thoughts on how Tess’ fate could not be fair or possible and she deserves her guardian angel to be there for her at this point.
In conclusion Hardy uses several techniques to portray the horrid fate presented to Tess in the novel. In phase the first he introduces the first stages of her fate preparing the audience as he then continues the novel, unfolding further unlucky scenarios. The structure used by Hardy displays how one small thing lead onto the disasters, and misfortunes in Tess’ life. The structure in the first phase also introduces the novel and sets up how Tess came to work for the D’Ubervilles and meet Alec . This allows the audience to feel great sympathy towards Tess as each unlucky event leads on to create a new one.
The use of imagery portrays the devastating future lined up for Tess in the novel. Associating it with the colour red concludes her life, and allows the audience to link many different emotions with Tess. The narrative technique used by Hardy add more for the reader to contemplate about, thinking more deeply into the occurrences in Tess’ life and how her life may continue from this point in the novel. Overall Hardy ensures the first phase in Tess Of The D’Ubervilles captures the reader with the ill omens he installs in Tess’ life, ensuring they continue, feeling the sorrow and pain for Tess.