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Theatrical plot

Tragedy: fate, forces universe toying with human lives

Socially; passions; sexual

Tragedy through references

Bad timing (see in writing) + hints, irony

Definition of tragedy

noun (plural tragedies)


 1an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or
natural catastrophe:a tragedy that killed 95 people[mass noun]:his life had been plagued by tragedy
 2a play dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, especially one concerning the
downfall of the main character:Shakespeare’s tragedies
 [mass noun] the dramatic genre represented by tragedies:Greek tragedyCompare with COMEDY.
Origin:
late Middle English: from Old French tragedie, via Latin from Greek tragōidia, apparently
from tragos 'goat' (the reason remains unexplained) + ōidē 'song, ode'. Compare with TRAGIC

tragédie
nf (tra-jé-die)

 1Pièce de théâtre en vers, dans laquelle figurent des personnages illustres, dont le but est d'exciter la terreur et la
pitié, et qui se termine ordinairement par un événement funeste.Le bonhomme Pyrante disait que vous étiez en
philosophie, qu'il n'était encore qu'en cinquième, et qu'à la tragédie du collége il jouait Cupidon quand vous
représentiez l'empereur. [HAUTEROCHE, Crispin médecin]
Les tragédies de Sophocle, de Corneille, de Racine, etc. les tragédies composées par ces poëtes.
La tragédie de Cinna, d'Athalie, etc. la tragédie dont Cinna, Athalie, etc. est le sujet.Le roi et toute la cour sont
charmés de la tragédie d'Esther. [SEVIGNE, 513]
Fig. Muse tragique.Ainsi, pour nous charmer, la Tragédie en pleurs D'Oedipe tout sanglant fit parler les douleurs.
[BOILEAU, L'art poétique]
 2Art de composer, de jouer des tragédies ; le genre tragique.La tragédie, informe et grossière en naissant, N'était
qu'un simple choeur où chacun en dansant, Et du dieu des raisins entonnant les louanges, S'efforçait d'attirer de
fertiles vendanges ; Là, le vin et la joie éveillant les esprits, Du plus habile chantre un bouc était le prix.
[BOILEAU, L'art poétique]
 3Fig. Événement funeste.La tragédie d'Angleterre [l'exécution de Charles Ier]. [DESCARTES, Lett. à Élisabeth, Rev.
Germ. t. XXXI, p. 82]

TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES AND TRAGEDY

Is Tess of the D'Urbervilles a tragedy, and is Tess a tragic figure? The answer to these questions
may depend on the way you define tragedy. Or you may apply Hardy's concept of tragedy to
the novel and decide whether it fits his definition. Over the years, he made a number of
references to tragedy.

 "A Plot, or Tragedy, should arise from the gradual closing in of a situation that comes of
ordinary human passions, prejudices, and ambitions, by reason of the characters taking
no trouble to ward off the disastrous events produced by the said passions, prejudices,
and ambitions" (1878).
 "Tragedy: It may be put thus in brief: a tragedy exhibits a state of things in the life of an
individual which unavoidably causes some natural aim or desire of his to end in a
catastrophe when carried out" (1885).
 "The best tragedy–highest tragedy in short–is that of the WORTHY encompassed by the
INEVITABLE. The tragedies of immoral and worthless people are not of the best" (1892).

Do you agree with Hardy's definition(s) of tragedy? Is he really describing tragedy?

Walter Allen bases his argument of Tess as a tragedy on the image of Tess as a trapped animal,
an image which "goes to the heart of Tess's situation. She is caught in tragedy because she is
animal, but if she had been merely animal, or if she had been Retty Priddle or Izz Huett, there
would have been no tragedy."

In “Thomas Hardy’s Tragic Hero” (Nineteenth-Century Fiction 9 [1954-5]: 179-191),


Ted R. Spivey defines tragedy in Hardy’s novels as “the defeat of the romantic hero’s
desire to reach a higher spiritual state. The drives of Hardy’s characters to achieve statesof love and
ecstasy are powerful enough to make his chief characters among the most
passionate in English literature.” Spivey further posits that Hardy’s protagonists defiantly
struggle against their fates, but are ultimately forced to accept doom, although they are
also granted insight into their downfalls .

Tragedy, Pastoral

Tragedies typically tell the story of a great or important protagonist whose ambition causes their fall from
happiness. Well, this isn't quite the way it works in Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Tess isn't the one who's ambitious –
it's her parents. And she isn't a "great" person at the start of the novel – she's just a country girl with a middling
education and a some serious good looks.

But her family used to be great: we learn in the first chapter that they are descended from the D'Urbervilles, an
ancient aristocratic family, but have since fallen on hard times and are barely scraping by. You could argue that
the traditional tragedy (the fall of a great family) took place before the novel even begins. But the tragedy of Tess
starts with the ambition of her parents: they send her off to borrow money from a distant branch of the family,
secretly hoping that the son of the family would fall in love with Tess and marry her. We all know how that works
out.

Because Tess isn't a traditional tragedy, in that it takes place in a rural setting and doesn't follow the fall of a
great and noble character, we also want to point out that it's a "pastoral" story. "Pastoral" just means that it
portrays the country (as opposed to the city) in an idealized or romantic way. Most of the bad stuff that happens
to Tess is a result of modernization and civilization, and not from anything that would have originated in the
country. The country would be a safe haven for her, if it weren't for the influence of city folks and values even out
in the country (go check out the "Themes" section on "Contrasting Regions" for more on this).

HARDY AND PUBLICATION

Thomas Hardy had a difficult time finding a publisher for Tess of the D'Urbervilles, which was
first serialized in a magazine and then published in book form. A number of magazines rejected
the novel. The editor of Murray's Magazine refused to publish "stories where the plot involves
frequent and detailed reference to immoral situations" even though he knew "well enough
that these tragedies are being played out every day in our midst, but I believe the less publicity
they have the better, and that it is quite possible and very desirable for women to grow up and
pass through life without the knowledge of them." The editor of Macmillan's
Magazine objected on similar grounds: "You use the word succulent more than once to
describe the general appearance and condition of the Frome Valley. Perhaps I might say that
the general impression left on me by reading your story... is one of rather too much
succulence."

Hardy resented having to make changes in order for Tess to be published. Hardy accused
magazine editors and publishers of failing to "foster the growth of the novel which reflects and
reveals life." For Hardy, "Art consists in so depicting the common events of life as to bring out
the features which illustrate the author's idiosyncratic mode of regard." The true artist paid for
writing in English by having his personal vision squelched and by "the complete extinction, in
the mind of every mature and penetrating reader, of sympathetic belief in his personages" (New
Review, 1890).

The novel sold well and was a success financially. This is not to say that it was not attacked by
some as depressing or shocking. One reviewer felt the novel "except during a few hours spent
with cows, has not a gleam of sunshine anywhere." The Quarterly Review agreed that "Mr.
Hardy has told an extremely disagreeable story in an extremely disagreeable manner." Of this
review, Hardy commented in his diary, "Well, if this sort of thing continues no more novel-
writing for me. A man must be a fool to deliberately stand up to be shot at." After the public
outcry against Jude the Obscure in 1896, Hardy wrote no more novels.

TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES AND TRAGEDY

Is Tess of the D'Urbervilles a tragedy, and is Tess a tragic figure? The answer to these questions
may depend on the way you define tragedy. Or you may apply Hardy's concept of tragedy to
the novel and decide whether it fits his definition. Over the years, he made a number of
references to tragedy.

 "A Plot, or Tragedy, should arise from the gradual closing in of a situation that comes of
ordinary human passions, prejudices, and ambitions, by reason of the characters taking
no trouble to ward off the disastrous events produced by the said passions, prejudices,
and ambitions" (1878).
 "Tragedy: It may be put thus in brief: a tragedy exhibits a state of things in the life of an
individual which unavoidably causes some natural aim or desire of his to end in a
catastrophe when carried out" (1885).

 "The best tragedy–highest tragedy in short–is that of the WORTHY encompassed by the
INEVITABLE. The tragedies of immoral and worthless people are not of the best" (1892).

Do you agree with Hardy's definition(s) of tragedy? Is he really describing tragedy?


Walter Allen bases his argument of Tess as a tragedy on the image of Tess as a trapped animal,
an image which "goes to the heart of Tess's situation. She is caught in tragedy because she is
animal, but if she had been merely animal, or if she had been Retty Priddle or Izz Huett, there
would have been no tragedy."

TESS'S PURITY

Hardy added the subtitle, A Pure Woman, at the last moment. It has created problems for
readers and critics ever since the novel's appearance. The title offends many on moral grounds,
for whom Tess is a "ruined," immoral woman. Others are puzzled intellectually; what is Hardy's
basis for calling her pure? Hardy defended the subtitle in an 1892 interview with Raymond
Blathwayt:

... I still maintain that her innate purity remained intact to the very last; though I frankly own
that a certain outward purity left her on her last fall. I regarded her then as being in the hands
of circumstances, not morally responsible, a mere corpse drifting with the current to her end.

The subtitle has been defended in various ways. For example, Hardy is showing that the
traditional Christian view equating virtue and purity with virginity is wrong. Or Hardy is
distinguishing between the act and the intention, a distinction Angel Clare finally makes in the
novel. Irving Howe offers a more subtle explanation:

in her incomparable vibrancy and lovingness, she comes to represent a spiritualized


transcendence of chastity. She dies three times, to live again:--first with Alec D'Urberville, then
with Angel Clare, and lastly with Alec again. Absolute victim of her wretched circumstances,
she is ultimately beyond their stain. She embodies a feeling for the inviolability of the person,
as it brings the absolute of charity nearer to the warming Christian virtue of charity. Through a
dialectic of negation, Tess reaches purity of spirit even as she fails to satisfy the standards of
the world.

For F.B. Pinton, her purity derives from her victimization:

... she is the victim of chance--of heredity, physical and temperamental; of the position she was
born into, and all the other factors that impinge on her life. She could not be held responsible
for them; she was, in Hardy's words, "a pure woman."

STRUCTURE OF THE NOVEL

The novel is organized around a natural cycle; Tess progresses through the stages of the cycle.
which are indicated by the headings for each of the seven sections. John Holloway describes
the events and stages in Darwinian terms: organism, environment, struggle, adaptation,
fertility, survival, resistance; Hardy envisaged the individual as subject to the same ultimates as
a species-- establishment and extinction. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) theorized that animals
compete for survival and that those species which develop traits that improve the chance of
survival, through mutation, for instance, are most likely to survive. This concept is best known
as "survival of the fittest," a phrase developed by Herbert Spencer.

DISCUSSION OF TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES

Tess of the D'Urbervilles as Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy Plot

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot
structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy,
and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type :

Anticipation Stage

Tess's family is tough shape financially, so her parents send her to ask for help
from their distant "relatives," the D'Urbervilles.

Typically, the protagonist in a tragedy is ambitious, and tries to get ahead in some way that leads to tragic
results. In Tess of the D'Urbervilles, it's her parents' foolish ambition that paves the way for the tragedy. Tess, as
we all know, is raped by her "cousin," Alec D'Urberville. After the baby dies, Tess leaves home for a fresh start at
the Talbothays Dairy.

Dream Stage

Tess and Angel meet, fall in love, and get married.

Everything seems to be going fine for Tess at Talbothays – everyone's happy, no one knows her past, and she
and Angel Clare are falling in love. She doesn't want to get married because of what happened to her with Alec.
But she's so in love that she decides that the past doesn't matter, and finally agrees to marry Angel. Again,
though, things aren't really in Tess's control – it was Angel who persuaded her to get married.

Frustration Stage

Tess and Angel marry; Tess confesses everything on their wedding night.

Marrying Angel without telling him about her past ahead of time was a big mistake, and it locks her into the tragic
trajectory. Angel leaves her by herself, and her pride makes it impossible for her to ask his parents for money
when she runs out. She has to work for herself and her family.

Nightmare Stage

Alec finds Tess, and becomes obsessed with her again.

Alec just won't stop harassing Tess. He taunts her for being abandoned by her husband, and continually insists
that he'll never come back to her. Then, after her father dies, he steps in and offers to help Tess's mother and
younger siblings – but only if she'll marry him. Things are completely out of Tess's control at this point.
Destruction or Death Wish Stage

Angel returns, and Tess murders Alec.

Once Angel gets back from Brazil and begs Tess for forgiveness, she realizes that Alec has completely ruined
her life. His actions have separated her from Angel twice now, and his rape hurt not only her, but also Angel.
Tess gets arrested and executed for murder.

The subtitle of the novel could use some more attention, too. "A Pure Woman" wasn't part of the title in the
novel's original manuscript, or in its initial publication in the Graphic magazine. But before the Graphicmagazine
agreed to publish it, Hardy was hurt by criticisms from various publishers who refused to print it in their
magazines on the grounds that it was immoral. One publisher, for example, criticized it for its "frequent and
detailed reference to immoral situations" (i.e., Tess's rape by Alec, Tess's sexual attractiveness). Another
publisher put it more mildly: "the general impression left on me by reading your story […] is one of rather too
much succulence" (You can read more of the publishers' objections in the "History of the Text" section of the
1998 Penguin edition).

As Hardy was revising the novel for its publication as a single volume in 1891, he felt the need to defend his
heroine and her inherent purity – so his addition of the subtitle, "A Pure Woman" can be read with a tone of
defiance. He's insisting that Tess is "pure" despite the fact that she has a child out of wedlock. She's still the
moral center of the novel. Hardy refers to this as "paradoxical morality."

eferences

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your
super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literature
 William Shakespeare. Alec whistles "Take, O take, those lips away" from Measure for Measure. (9.29)
 Walt Whitman. "Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, / How curious you are to me!
– " (25.6)
 Byron and Shelley. "Though not cold-natured, he was rather bright than hot – less Byronic than
Shelleyan; could love desperately, but his love more especially inclined to the imaginative and ethereal"
(31.8)
 F.J. Child (ed.) The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 5 vols. (1882-98), vol. 1, no. 29. "Guénever".
The ballad tells the story of "The Boy and the Mantle," which is about a magic mantle that only the pure
could wear. Guinevere, King Arthur's queen, was cheating with Lancelot, and the mantle changed color
and betrayed her. (32.54)
 Algernon Swinburne. Atalanta upon Calydon. ll.1852-5 (35.46)
 William Shakespeare. King Lear III.ii.60: "More sinned against than sinning." (35.52)
 Robert Browning. "By the Fireside" (1855), l. 192. (35.78)
 John Milton, Paradise Lost. Alec quotes Milton, suggesting that she's like Eve, and he's like Satan, come
to tempt her in the guise of a "lesser animal," since he's dressed as a commoner. (50.20)

The Bible
 "Chasten yourself with the thought of 'how are the mighty fallen.'" (1.32)
 "Perhaps, like that other god of whom the ironical Tishbite spoke, he was talking, or he was pursuing, or
he was in a journey, or peradventure he was sleeping and was not to be awaked." (11.61)
 "Thy damnation slumbereth not." (12.51)
 "Three Leahs to get one Rachel." (23.32)

No single reason is responsible for the tragedy in all his novels, "fate", "character", "society", "chance and
coincidence" plays a crucial part in the tragedy of Hardy's novel. Different devices of tragedy is employed by
Hardy in different novel. In "The Mayor of Casterbridge", "character" was responsible for the tragedy in the play.
In "The return of the native", "chance and coincidence" played a greater role in bringing about tragedy. In "Tess
of the D'Urbervilles", "fate" plays a considerable role to contribute to the tragedy of the novel.

Hardy personifies "fate" at the end of the novel, as the president of the immortals, reveals itself in two forms -
"Nature and "chance and coincidence"- Nature plays a key role in the novel, it is always indifferent and hostile,
and never a source of comfort and pleasure. When "Tess" was seduced, nature was indifferent, when "Tess"
was in miserable condition, nature was more hostile by the rigours of winter at Flintcomb-Ash, "a starve-acre
place".

"Chance and coincidence" also played a crucial role in the life of "Tess" and made it miserable. "Tess" seek
employment at the D'Urberville house, by chance, chance was responsible to make her seduction by Alec
possible, her letter of confession lips under the rug and does not reach Angel, by chance, she confronted Alec,
once again in life by chance and so on.
Therefore "fate" both in the form of "nature" and "chance and coincidence" plays a crucial role in the life of
"Tess" and contributed to the tragedy of the novel.

To what extent is Tess a true tragic heroine?


Tess of the d'Urbervilles follows Tess through the last stages of her life. The reader is witness to the
starting point of her eventual downfall, Alec raping her and the ramifications of that on the rest of her life. As
the novel progresses, the reader learns more about Tess' true nature and how her end comes about
because of the imposition of conventional values on her by other people, Alec's misinterpreting her feelings,
Angel's religious dogmatism and the views of the people Tess interacts with. The character of Tess does
not change throughout the whole book, rather, the full understanding of her character is revealed to the
reader as the story unfolds.
The classic notion of a tragic hero occurs throughout the history of literature, Shakespeare's Macbeth,
Othello, and even Oedipus Rex. Essentially, a tragic hero is an inherently noble character of great standing
who suffers from a fatal flaw, be it pride, ambition or lust. The combination of this fatal flaw and a healthy
dose of supernatural intervention results in the downfall of the tragic hero, before which he realises his
fault. Tess is of course a far cry from this description; she is but the daughter of "the commonest feller in
the parish" although she does possess many noble characteristics, and an almost equal amount of faults.
Though not as obvious as witches or fairies, Hardy suggests throughout the novel that there are greater
powers at work, manipulating the Tess' situation, leading her to her doom.
As opposed to the classic tragedy Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a domestic tragedy and is filled with pathos.
Pathos presents its heroine as isolated by a weakness that appeals to the reader's sympathy because it
reflects personal experience. More often than not, a domestic tragedy will contain a pathetic female
sacrifice, from Clarissa Harlowe to Jame's Diasy Miller. In contrast to classical tragedies where massacres
occur to cleanse the whole system, as in Hamlet, domestic tragedy concentrates on a single character,
Tess in this case, partly because of the society being more strongly individualised yet at the same time
constrained by traditions and orders. Characteristic of pathos is also the inarticulateness of the tragic
heroine, Tess does not realise what Alec wants to do to her in the Chase till it is too late and again she
does not point out Angel's hypocrisy when he refuses to forgive her for her lies.
Tess is possessed of pleasant enough qualities to stand her in good stead with any man. She is "a fine and
handsome girl" who is deceptively mature and grows to a young woman. Emphasis is placed on the
attractiveness of her eyes, her "velvet" lips, her sensuous "cooing voice, plaintive in expostulation". That
she is capable of pride and independence is also shown repeatedly throu

Tess of the d'Urbervilles follows Tess through the last stages of her life. The reader is witness to the
starting point of her eventual downfall, Alec raping her and the ramifications of that on the rest of her life. As
the novel progresses, the reader learns more about Tess' true nature and how her end comes about
because of the imposition of conventional values on her by other

people, Alec's misinterpreting her feelings, Angel's religious dogmatism and the views of the people Tess
interacts with. The character of Tess does not change throughout the whole book, rather, the full
understanding of her character is revealed to the reader as the story unfolds.

The classic notion of a tragic hero occurs throughout the history of literature, Shakespeare's Macbeth,
Othello, and even Oedipus Rex. Essentially, a tragic hero is an inherently noble character of great standing
who suffers from a fatal flaw, be it pride, ambition or lust. The combination of this fatal flaw and a healthy
dose of supernatural intervention results in the downfall of the tragic hero, before which he realises his
fault. Tess is of course a far cry from this description ;she is but the daughter of "the commonest feller in
the parish" although she does possess many noble characteristics, and an almost equal amount of faults.
Though not as obvious as witches or fairies, Hardy suggests throughout the novel that there are greater
powers at work, manipulating the Tess' situation, leading her to her doom.

As opposed to the classic tragedy Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a domestic tragedy and is filled with pathos.
Pathos presents its heroine as isolated by a weakness that appeals to the reader's sympathy because it
reflects personal experience. More often than not, a domestic tragedy will contain a pathetic female

sacrifice, from Clarissa Harlowe to Jame's Diasy Miller. In contrast to classical tragedies where massacres
occur to cleanse the whole system, as in Hamlet, domestic tragedy concentrates on a single character,
Tess in this case, partly because of the society being more strongly individualised yet at the same time
constrained by traditions and orders. Characteristic of pathos is also the inarticulateness of the tragic
heroine, Tess does not realise what Alec wants to do to her in the

Chase till it is too late and again she does not point out Angel's hypocrisy when he refuses to forgive her for
her lies.

Tess is possessed of pleasant enough qualities to stand her in good stead with any man. She is "a fine and
handsome girl" who is deceptively mature and grows to a young woman. Emphasis is placed on the
attractiveness of her eyes, her "velvet" lips, her sensuous "cooing voice, plaintive in expostulation".

That she is capable of pride and independence is also shown repeatedly throughout the book, clearly she is
only "a peasant by position and not by nature" and this can be seen in her determination in leaving Alec,
her unwillingness to reveal to her parents the truth of her marriage. It is "pride, false shame, whatever it
may be called, on Clare's account, which had led her to hide from her parents the prolongation of the
estrangement." It is this pride which also prevents from staging an emotional scene to win back Angel's
love.

Besides her physical qualities, Hardy also creates sense of Tess' kinship with Nature and her frailty amidst
her surroundings. She is "a mere vessel of emotion untinctured by experience" and nearer the end of the
novel, despite the trials and tribulations she has gone through, she is still "a vessel of emotions rather than
reasons". The reader senses
in Tess a instinctive, emotional quality that is in sharp contrast to Angel's "concentration", "contemplation"
and "thinking". Tess is continually compared to animal life, she "was as warm as a sunned cat" and is often
related to birds like the sparrow. This sense of her being one with Nature is succinctly put across in Hardy's
description of her as "a figure which is part of the landscape."

Ironically, Tess' good qualities indirectly lead to her downfall as they become more a curse than a blessing.
Her beauty is what attracts Alec and leads to her rape. Her beauty then attracts Angel, who misinterprets
her beauty and sees her as "a fresh and virginal daughter of Nature". She comes to realise the curse of her
beauty as she reaches Chalk-Newton, where "she mercilessly nipped her eyebrows off, and thus insured
against aggressive admiration she went

Dale Cramer, Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy, Macmillian Press 1990
Hands, T., Writers in Their Time: Thomas Hardy, Macmillian Press Ltd, London, 1995
Kramer, D., Landmarks of World Literature: Hardy - Tess of the d'Ubervilles, Cambridge University
Press, Great Britain, 1991
Boumbela, P., Thomas Hardy and Women, Brighton, 1982
Draper, R. P. (ed.), Thomas Hardy: The Tragic Novels, London, 1975
Laird, J. T., The Shaping of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Oxford, 1975
Full Glossary for Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Aeschylean phrase "President of the Immortals" translates a phrase from Prometheus Bound
(1.169), by Aeschylus; Hardy finishes the novel by suggesting that the highest power in the
universe uses human beings for "sport."
Aholah and Aholibah two sisters who were prostitutes: Ezekiel predicts that not only they but
their children will be punished (Ezekiel 23).
Aldebaran or Sirius two of the brightest stars in the sky.
almanack (dialect) almanac.
And she shall follow after her lover . . . from Hosea 2:7.
Antinomian a believer in the Christian doctrine that faith alone, not obedience to the moral law,
is necessary for salvation.
antiquity the quality of being ancient or old.
Apostolic Charity Charity as described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
apostrophizing addressing words to a person or thing, whether absent or present, generally in
an exclamatory digression in a speech or literary writing.
apple-booth apple blossom.
Artemis, Demeter goddesses associated with chastity, but the former also connected with
hunting and both understood in the early anthropology of Hardy's time as fertility goddesses.
Article Four the fourth of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England asserts the literal
resurrection of Christ from the dead.
as Hamlet puts it from Hamlet 2.2.351.
Atalanta's race Atalanta was a Grecian huntress who refused to marry any suitor who could not
outrun her; the penalty for those who lost was death.
autochthonous characteristic of any of the earliest known inhabitants of a place.
Babylon ancient city noted for wealth, luxury, and wickedness.
Bachelor-apostle St. Paul; Alec is echoing Luke 9:62.
baily in England, a steward or manager of a farm or estate.
Ballyragging bullying, intimidating, or browbeating.
banns the proclamation, generally made in church on three successive Sundays, of an intended
marriage.
barton barnyard.
beatific making blissful or blessed.
Being reviled we bless… 1 Corinthians 4:12-13.
bizarrerie something strange, weird, singular, odd (French).
black-puddings dark sausages made with meat and seasoned blood.
cadaverous of or like a cadaver; esp., pale, ghastly, or gaunt and haggard.
Calvinistic doctrine reference to the teachings of John Calvin (1509-1564), Swiss Protestant
theologian, who emphasized salvation through God's grace.
capricious subject to caprices; tending to change abruptly and without apparent reason; erratic;
flighty.
carking [Archaic] worrying or being worried or anxious.
Caroline date the seventeenth century, during the reign of Charles I (reigned 1625-49) or
Charles II (reigned 1660-85).
Centurions the commanding officers of an ancient Roman century.
Cerealia celebration in honor of Ceres, Roman goddess of the harvest.
Champaigns plains; level open country.
Chapels-of-Ease chapels for parishioners who lived far from the church.
éclat brilliant or conspicuous success; dazzling display.
clipsed or colled (dialect) embraced.
clipsing and colling hugging (dialect).
Clogged like a dripping pan reference to a pan, used for roasting, in which the drippings of fat
have been allowed to congeal.
Conjecturally being inferred, theorized, or predicted from incomplete or uncertain evidence.
contravene to go against; oppose; conflict with; violate; to disagree with in argument;
contradict.
convenances social conventions (from French).
copy-holders people who hold land by copyhold.
copyholders persons who hold land by copyhold; here, possessors of the land at the will of the
lord of the manor, who, by custom, normally allowed tenants to stay for longer than the life of the
original tenant.
Cornelia wife of Scipio Africanus the Younger (second cen. B.C.), who devoted herself to raising
her twelve children and refused offers of marriage after she was widowed (Enc. Britannica,
7:167).
cowcumber (dialect) cucumber.
Crivelli's dead Christus probably the Pietà by the fifteenth-century Italian painter, Carlo Crivelli
(c. 1430-1495), in the National Gallery in London.
crumby an attractive girl.
Cubit's Cupid's.
cumbrous cumbersome.
Cybele the Many-breasted Phrygian fertility goddess who, in the form of a mother with many
breasts, symbolizes nature.
Cyprian image the goddess of love in an ancient world, Venus and Aphrodite, was associated
with Cyprus, but the legend mentioned has not been convincingly identified.
dand (dialect) a bit more.
dandyism the condition of being or qualities of a dandy, a man who pays too much attention to
his clothes and appearance.
Dapes inemptae "unpurchased banquet" (Latin); refers to the dairyman's self-sufficiency in
producing food.
Deal box a fir or pine board of any of several sizes; fir or pinewood.
deferential very respectful.
delirium tremens violent delirium resulting chiefly from excessive drinking of alcoholic liquor and
characterized by sweating, trembling, anxiety, and frightening hallucinations.
Deparked removed from their status as a park, that is, an area preserved for hunting by the
aristocracy through royal decree.
deprecated expressed disapproval of; depreciated; belittled.
desultory passing from one thing to another in an aimless way; disconnected; not methodical.
diment diamond (dialect).
dimity a thin, corded or patterned cotton cloth.
dolorifuge (archaic usage) painful, full or sorrow.
Druidical mistletoe to the Druids, mistletoe was sacred.
dust and ashes Job 42:6.
dust to ashes from Job 42:6.
dusty death a phrase from Macbeth 5.5.23.
early Italian conception of the two Marys` because of their weepings and pensive looks, they
resemble painted representations from the Renaissance of Mary, the mother of Christ, and Mary
Magdalen after the death of Jesus.
enervating depriving of strength, force, vigor, etc.; weakening physically, mentally, or morally.
Equinoctial occurring at or about the time of an equinox.
Ethiopic hot, African-like scorching of the farmland and pasture.
exaction an excessive demand; extortion; an exacted fee, tax.
expostulate to reason with a person earnestly, objecting to that person's actions or intentions;
remonstrate (with).
Faeces feces, excrement.
fagged to have worked hard and become very tired; [Brit. Informal] to have served as a servant.
fancy-man .a man supported by a woman; esp., a pimp; here, a sweetheart (slang).
Faustina wife of Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, she was reputed to be
unfaithful.
Felloes rims of a spoked wheel, or segments of the rim.
fess pleased (dialect).
fiat an order issued by legal authority, usually beginning with fiat (let it be done); decree.
flummery meaningless flattery or silly talk.
Friar Lawrence from Romeo and Juliet (Act II, Scene 6, Line 9).
from St. Luke refers to Luke 12:20.
from the Dictionnaire Philosophique to Huxley's Essays The Dictionnaire is a collection of
essays published in the eighteenth century by Voltaire, who was antagonistic to Christianity;
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), a respected scientist and supporter of Darwinian theory,
published many essays, including Essays on Some Controverted Questions (1892).
gaffer a foreman of a group of workers.
Giotto's 'Two Apostles' Hardy probably had in mind the fresco in the National Gallery in London
that is now attributed to Spinello Aretino (active 1371-1410).
Gnomic texts gnomic means wise and pithy; full of aphorisms; here, a reference to texts that
express general truths in a wise manner.
a good thing could come out of Nazareth John 1:46.
Good-hussif (dialect) good housewife.
grapes of Ephraim from Judges 8:1-3.
green malt on the floor the expression refers to pregnancy before marriage.
guindée stiff, stilted, formal (French).
habiliments clothing; dress; attire.
haggler/higgler a dealer who travels from place to place selling wares or goods, such as fruit.
Hagrode (dialect) ridden by witches, troubled by nightmares.
handkercher (dialect) handkerchief.
Heliolatries religions in which the sun is worshipped.
her Antinous . . . a favorite of the Roman Emperor Hadrian; like Apollo, the Greek god of sun
and of music, Antinous was a figure of male beauty.
her mother's ballad of the mystic robe from "The Boy and the Mantle," in which a robe
betrays Queen Guenever, the wife of King Arthur.
Hodge a familiar term for an agricultural laborer in England; shortened form of Roger.
hogshead a large barrel or cask holding from 63 to 140 gallons (238 to 530 liters)
Holmberry a holly bush.
Hontish (dialect) haughty.
How are the mighty fallen from 2 Samuel 1:19.
Hymenaeus and Alexander in this sentence Alec is echoing Paul in 1 Timothy 1:18-20, where
he mentions these figures as examples of those who have lost faith.
I worshipped on the mountains . . . from 2 Kings 17-23.
impressibility the state of being impressed or impressionable.
Integer Vitae phrase from Roman poet Horace is in an ode translated in the lines quoted as
"upright life."
integument a natural outer covering of the body or of a plant, including skin, shell, hide, husk,
or rind.
interlocutor a person taking part in a conversation or dialogue.
Ixionian wheel in Greek mythology, Ixion's eternal punishment was to be bound to a revolving
wheel of fire.
Jeremy Taylor's thought reference to The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651) by Jeremy
Taylor, a seventeenth-century Anglican divine.
Jints (dialect) joints or hip/knee joints.
kex (dialect) a dry, hollow plant stem.
land of Canaan the Promised Land.
larry commotion, disturbance (dialect).
leads milk pans made of lead.
less Byronic than Shelleyan less passionate than spiritual in inclination.
license written permission from a bishop in place of a banns.
like the moves of a chess player death is sometimes represented as a chess player.
limed caught with birdlime; here, Abraham is compared to a bird ensnared in bird-lime.
lineaments the features of the body, usually of the face, esp. with regard to their outlines.
Liviers lifeholders, that is, tenants whose lease ran the length of a specified number of lifetimes;
by contrast, a freeholder's heirs could retain his lease in perpetuity.
Lotis . . . Priapus Priapus, another lustful god, pursued Lotis, who was turned into a lotus flower.
Lucretia or Lucrece, wife of Collantius, known for her virtue, who killed herself after being raped
by Lucius Tarquinius.
M. Sully-Prudhomme French poet and essayist (1839 — 1907).
Magdalene Mary Magdalene was a fallen woman. Christ's appearance to her after his
Resurrection occurs in Mark 16.
Malthusian of Malthus and his theory that the world population tends to increase faster than the
food supply with inevitable disastrous results unless natural restrictions, such as war, famine, and
disease, reduce the population or the increase is checked by moral restraint.
Mampus crowd (dialect).
man of Uz Job.
Marble term a post that marks the boundary, often in the shape of a pillar topped with a head
and torso.
Market-niche the amount of alcohol that he would normally drink on a market day.
mien a way of carrying and conducting oneself; manner.
milchers animals that give milk.
mistarshers (dialect) mustache.
mommet (dialect) a term of abuse or contempt.
Mommet a term of abuse or contempt (dialect).
My soul chooseth strangling . . . Job 7:15-16.
nammet-time (dialect) time for a snack at mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
nater nature (dialect).
Nature's holy plan from Wordsworth, "Lines Written in Early Spring" (line 22).
Nazarene Jesus, from John 14:27.
niaseries nonsense, foolish thought (from French).
night-rail a loose dressing-jacket or dressing gown.
nott cows (dialect) cows without horns.
nymphs minor nature goddesses, represented as young and beautiful and living in rivers,
mountains, or trees.
O foolish Galatians . . . from Galatians 3:1.
off-license without a license; here, Rolliver's is not licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on
the premises.
old double chant 'Langdon' a chant in the Anglican Church double the normal length, in this
case named after the English composer, Robert Langdon (1730-1803).
Old Lady Day April 6, date used to set the beginning or ending of employment.
Old Style days the time before 1752 when Great Britain replaced the Julian Calendar, old-style
dating, with Gregorian, or new-style dating.
Oliver Grumble's Oliver Cromwell['s].
Olympian shapes the shapes of the Greek gods, who lived on Mount Olympus.
one deserving to be stoned from John 8:3-11, instead of encouraging stoning, Jesus forgives a
woman brought to him as an adulteress by the Scribes and Pharisees.
Ostium sepulchri . . . Door of the tomb of the ancient family of d'Urberville (Latin).
ostler (dialect) hosteler.
outhouse a building separate from but near a main building. In nineteenth-century British usage,
outhouse probably does not refer to a privy.
Pagan Moralist Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 A.D.), Roman emperor and stoic
philosopher.
Pan Greek god with legs, ears, and horns of a goat, noted for his lust.
pantheistic relating to pantheism, the doctrine that God is not a personality, but that all laws,
forces, manifestations, etc. of the universe are God; the belief that God and the universe are one
and the same.
parlous perilous; dangerous; risky.
Partie carree party of four, from French.
Pattens elevated, wooden soled shoes, often used for walking in mud and sometimes outfitted
with an iron ring that can clink.
pellucid transparent or translucent; clear; easy to understand.
penitential expressing penitence for having sinned or done other wrong and willing to atone.
penury lack of money, property, or necessities; extreme poverty; destitution.
percipience a perceiving, esp. keenly or readily.
perdition the loss of the soul; damnation; hell.
pernicious causing great injury, destruction, or ruin; fatal; deadly; [Rare] wicked; evil.
Peter the Great Peter I (1672-1725); czar of Russia (1682-1725). Before becoming Emperor of
Russia, Peter studied shipbuilding.
Petite mort shudder or chill; a premonition of death; a "little death" (French).
phlegmatic hard to rouse to action; sluggish; dull; apathetic; calm; cool; stolid.
phlegmatic hard to rouse to action; specif., sluggish; dull; apathetic; calm; cool; stolid.
Phryne Athenian courtesan who was the model and lover of Praxiteles, the sculptor.
pillar of a cloud from Exodus 13:21.
pinner (dialect) a pinafore or apron with a bib.
plim swell (dialect).
Plutonic master Pluto, or Hades, god of the underworld, had the power to condemn people to
hell.
pollarded for bows had their boughs severed to make bows.
poppet [Obs.] a doll, or puppet.
Praxitlean creation like the work of Praxiteles, Greek sculptor of the fourth century B.C. known
for his sensual statues.
premonitory giving previous warning or notice.
pricked or ducked references to ordeals used to identify witches, either by pricking them to see
if they were insensitive or bled less than normal, or by ducking them to see if they sank (a sign of
innocence) or floated (a sign of guilt).
Primum mobile the outermost sphere of the world in Ptolemaic cosmography, which caused the
movement of the heavens (Latin).
proclivity a natural or habitual tendency or inclination, esp. toward something discreditable.
prophet on the top of Peor Balaam, who refused to curse the Israelites, Numbers 23-24.
prophet's gourd from Jonah 4:5-10, a gourd springs up overnight to give shade to Jonah.
propinquity nearness in time or place.
prudish like or characteristic of a prude; too modest or proper.
psalter a version of the Psalms for use in religious services; here, Tess is thinking of the psalm
that is part of the "Invitatory and Psalter" of the Daily Morning Prayer in The Book of Common
Prayer.
publican in Britain, any owner or proprietor of a pub.
Publicans and Sinners . . . Scribes and Pharisees they were biased in favor of those who had
fallen.
pummy ground apples used in making cider.
quadrille a square dance of French origin, consisting of several figures, performed by four
couples.
quagmire a difficult or inextricable position; here, referring to the difficulties caused by the loss
of Prince, the Durbeyfield horse.
Queen of Sheba queen who visited King Solomon to investigate his reputed wisdom: 1 Kings
10:1-13; here, a reference to the Queen's dispirited feeling after she experiences the wisdom and
wealth of Solomon (1 Kings 10:3-5).
rafted disturbed, unsettled (dialect).
reconnoitre to make a reconnaissance; alternate spelling of reconnoiter.
redemptive theolatry the worship of a god that promises redemption, as in Christianity.
reed-drawing preparing straw to be used as thatching material.
Revised Code reference to the Education Department's Revised Codes of 1862 and 1867, which
linked the funding for schools to their size and to student performance on standardized
assessment examinations.
Robert South English divine and minister (1634-1716).
satyrs in classical mythology, minor woodland deities having the head and trunk of a man and
the hind legs of a goat, and as being fond of riotous merriment and lechery.
self-immolation suicide, usually by burning oneself in a public place; deliberate self-sacrifice.
Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7.
servants of corruption from 2 Peter 2:19-20.
the seven thunders from Revelation 10:3-4.
shine on the just and the unjust alike an echo of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:45).
Sigh gratis act or feel without expecting reward; from Hamlet (Act II, Scene 2, Line 323).
Sileni plural form of Silenus, a satyr and follower of Bacchus.
sin, the world and the devil a reference to "the world, the flesh, and the devil," traditional
temptations to sin mentioned in The Book of Common Prayer (Anglican Church).
Sins of the fathers Exodus 20:5: "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of
the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."
Sixth Standard in the National School the highest level available in school supported by
government funds run by the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the
Principles of the Established Church. The first schools were established in 1811.
Skein a quantity of thread or yarn wound in a coil; something like this, as a coil of hair.
some mutely Miltonic, some potentially Cromwellian an allusion to Thomas Gray's "Elegy
Written in a Country Churchyard" (lines 59-60).
somnambulistic getting up and moving about in a trance-like state while asleep.
springe [Now Rare] a snare consisting of a noose attached to something under tension, as a bent
tree branch.
Stale (dialect) to urinate.
stave a set of verses, or lines, of a song or poem; stanza.
stile a vertical piece in a panel or frame, as of a door or window.
Stodded waggon (dialect) a wagon that is stuck.
Stopt-diapason note suggests Tess' voice, which, like an organ with stops, or tuned sets of
pipes, is characterized by a full range of harmonious sound.
a stranger in a strange land in Exodus 2:22, Moses in Egypt refers to himself as a stranger in a
strange land.
Stubbard-tree a kind of apple tree.
Stupefaction stunned amazement or utter bewilderment.
summut (dialect) somewhat.
sumple supple (dialect).
Superincumbent lying or resting on something else.
supernumerary that exceeds or is beyond the regular or prescribed number; extra.
supervened came or happened as something extraneous or unexpected; to take place; ensued.
swede-hacking a swede is a Swedish turnip, or rutabaga.
Syrinx Syrinx was pursued by Pan, but the gods turned her into a reed, from which Pan made his
pipe.
taciturnity the condition of being silent or uncommunicative.
Take, O take those lips away from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (Act I, Scene 1, Line 1).
tale told by an idiot from Macbeth 5.5.26-27.
teave (dialect) work or struggle.
Temple of the Winds also known as the "tower of the winds," a temple in Athens used for telling
time.
texes (dialect) texts.
that scene of Milton's scene from Paradise Lost, and the passage quoted (Book IX:626-631) is
spoken by Eve to Satan in the form of a serpent.
Thermidorean weather here, warm summer months; Thermidor is a reference to the month
from July 19 to August 17 in the French calendar, instituted in 1793 after the Revolution.
thimble-riggers cheaters or swindlers.
thirtover (dialect) thwart-over, meaning perverse.
those who are true… list of virtues comes from Paul; Philippians 4:8.
thought of Pascal's translated it means: "To the same degree as one has intelligence, one
notices that many individuals possess distinctive qualities. People of an ordinary kind do not
notice the differences between individuals." From the Pensees of Blaise Pascal (1602-1674),
French philosopher and mathematician.
Tishbite Elijah, who in 1 Kings 18 mocks the god worshipped by the priests of Baal.
to take Orders to become an ordained minister.
Tole (dialect) to entice.
Tophet a place mentioned in the Bible where children were burned; it became identified in
Judaism with an underworld where wickedness was punished after death; a synonym for hell that
came into Middle English from Hebrew.
Touchwood dried, decayed wood or dried fungus used as tinder.
Traceried having ornamental work of interlacing or branching lines, as in a Gothic window, some
kinds of embroidery, etc.
Tractarian derived from the Oxford Movement, which favored a return to early Catholic doctrines
in the Church of England.
tranters (dialect) carriers; hawkers.
treacle molasses.
trencher-woman a woman who eats much and heartily
Trilithon a monument consisting of two upright megaliths with a third stone serving as the lintel.
Tuscan saint a reference to the images typical of Florentine art during the Renaissance.
The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife . . . in 1 Corinthians, 7:13-14, Paul
advises wives not to leave husbands who lack belief.
Uncribbed, uncabined after murdering Banquo, in Macbeth (3.4.24-25), Macbeth refers to
himself as "cabined, cribbed, confined."
Valley of Humiliation from Part I (1678) and Part II (1684) of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
vamp trudge, tramp, walk (dialect).
van Alsoot or Sallaert Seventeenth century Flemish painters of village life.
Van Beers Jan Van Beers (1852-1927), Flemish painter frequently compared to Wiertz.
van common carrier, usually a cart pulled by horses, which travels from town to town.
vicissitudes unpredictable changes or variations that keep occurring in life, fortune, etc.; shifting
circumstances; ups and downs.
vlee fly; a one-horse hackney-carriage (dialect).
Vulpine slyness of or like a fox or foxes; clever, cunning.
Weltlust desire for worldly things and pleasures (German).
which alters when it alteration finds from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.
Whickered (dialect) snickered, giggled, tittered.
white pillar of a cloud from Exodus 13:21.
Whitsun Holidays the time around the seventh Sunday after Easter, Whitsuntide or Whit
Sunday. Club-walking and other festivities were held in parishes at Whitsuntide.
wicket a small door or gate, esp. one set in or near a larger door or gate.
Wiertz Museum museum in Brussels containing the macabre works of the Flemish painter
Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865).
wife of Uriah Bathsheba, whom King David committed adultery with and then married after
sending Uriah to his death on battle, from 2 Samuel 11.
witch of Babylon from Revelation 17, there are references to the Whore of Babylon.
Withy-bed stand of willows.
wold old (dialect).
Women's club-walking A procession by the members of a local club or clubs: esp. the annual
festival of a benefit club or friendly society.
the world, the flesh, nor the devil traditional temptations to sin mentioned in The Book of
Common Prayer.
the wrath to come an echo of Matthew 3:7.
wrings cheese processes.
wroppers (dialect) wrappers.