Can it be stated that Tess from Tess of the d’Urbervilles lost innocence and acquired strength at the same time after being raped by the character of Alec?
She is reminded of her loss of “purity” but eventually overcomes these feelings of self-doubt. Rosemarie Morgan states that ‘Far from being a passive victim, Tess embodies a fierce impulse to self-determination against daunting, and ultimately insurmountable, odds’. Therefore, Tess can be said to overcome her image of a ‘fallen woman’. Hardy has developed a character whose inner strength allows her to conquer the established definition of the ‘fallen woman’.
- On the other hand, when looking at Tess in relation to White’s definition of a ‘fallen woman’, it can definitely be said that she irrevocably loses her innocence when Alec rapes her, as even Angel cannot overlook her past at first. The scene in which Tess is raped can be linked to the Garden of Eden story, as it occurs in the natural setting of the woods which is similar to the natural setting of Eden. Moreover, Alec characterizes Tess as a temptress, saying, ‘You temptress, Tess; you dear witch of Babylon!’, which can be linked to White’s statement, as Eve is also characterized as a temptress.