Theme Of Innocence In Tess Of The D Urbervilles

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In ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ Hardy presents the theme of innocence throughout the novel. This theme is directly linked to the character of Tess, and her loss of innocence, during the novel. Because of the pastoral genre, we expect as an audience for a loss of innocence to be a feature in the novel, which means Hardy presents this innocence as being dangerous and desirable.
When we first see Tess, she is depicted as a girl of innocence, in her ‘white muslin’, as white has connotations of innocence and purity. However her ‘red ribbon’ makes her stand out from the other maids, she travels with. The red ribbon is juxtaposed by the rest of her outfit, and so this could be seen as a symbol for the danger Tess places herself in by, attempting to
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However it is only the illusion of Tess’ chastity that Angel falls in love with. He even goes as far as calling her ‘Artemis’ and ‘Demeter’. With one of the goddesses being the protector of virgins, it is clear that one of the main reasons Angel cherishes Tess so dearly, is because of this seeming virginity. He idealizes Tess to state of being a innocent, divine being; when in reality, by Victorian standards she is a fallen woman. Because of this it could be perceived that it is in fact her lack of innocence that is presented as dangerous, as when Angel finds out about the ‘seduction’ at ‘The Chase’ he claims to have married ‘a different woman’. Albeit one that was innocent in all ways, not only in soul but in body also. Yet Tess’ is also guilty of idealising Angel, as she depicts him to be see Angel-like figure of innocence that can do no wrong. Again this makes him more desirable to her, for a husband. Again, we see this version of Angel that Hardy presents is merely image of Angel that Tess’ sees, because of her idealisation towards …show more content…
She makes this apparent when conversing with Joan, after her mother learns the knowledge of her pregnancy. She claims to have been a ‘child’ when leaving ‘Malott’, to work for Alec’s mother at ‘The Slopes’. Asking her why she didn’t tell her of the ‘danger in men folk’. It could be said, because of the novel’s pastoral genre that the novel is structured, with the first phase of the novel is the state of the story being pre-lapsarian, up until the scene in the chase. After this point it could be argued Tess only reflects an image of herself being an innocent woman, and from this point onward it is the illusion of her innocence being the danger, over actual innocence

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