Power In Tess Of The D Urberville

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“The best writing about relationships is likely to deal with the power struggles that lovers go through.”

When writing about relationships it is essential to introduce a form of conflict in order to maintain an interesting narrative. Through exploring the imbalances of power within a relationship, authors can create a story with conflict that is able to both grip attention and encourage an emotional investment in the readers.
In Tess of the D’Urbervilles there is a clear and marked conflict between the protagonist and Alec D’Urberville, one that shows a definitive example of a power imbalance. There are many ways in which Alec D’Urberville exerts his authority and power over Tess; socially, economically and sexually. In Alec we see a character who feels that he is entitled to what he wants due to his superior status for example when in the cart on the way to Tantridge for the first time. In that scene Alec manipulates Tess through fear into allowing him to kiss her through exerting his situational power over their cart, he then reinforces the idea of his power though giving her “the kiss of mastery” demonstrating his sexual knowledge and therefore a carnal power over
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After her return from Tantridge the Parishioners in Marlott “whispered to each other” making Tess feel so ashamed for her perceived ‘fall’ that she begins to walk “after dark” perhaps as she feels she dose not belong in the light and needs to hide her impurity in the darkness and shadows. This conflict in question is one that Hardy seems to want us as readers to question however, the power here being with the Parishioners whom Tess allow to bully her into feeling ashamed of herself enough to find that the woods made her feel “least solitary” and isolated from others. In questioning weather “social law” or “environmental law” should hold more power over Tess and her purity as a

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