How Tess is Seduced and Trapped by Alec d'Urbervilles

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      Tess was born to suffer and die. She was destined to meet a tragic end in her life. She was the daughter of the old man who was given to pride and drinking. When he came to know of his noble family, his pride knew no bounds. He celebrated this discovery with heavy drinking. The result is that Tess has to drive the family horse named Prince for taking the beehives to the market of Casterbridge. On the way, the horse is involved in an accident and dies from a fatal wound. This death of Prince compels Tess to go to Trantridge for earning money so that she might buy another horse for her parents. Her mother is a foolish greedy woman. She forces her to go to Mrs. d’Urberville and claim kinship. She thinks that this old lady will help her in marriage and will make her a lady. All the members of Tess’ family also force her to go there.

      When she begins to look after the fowls of Mrs. d’Urberville, she starts visiting the market of Chaseborough on every Saturday. Once she goes there somewhat late. When she finishes her marketing, she tries to search out her comrades—who have come to the fair to enjoy dancing and drinking. She cannot return home alone. She happens to meet Alec in the fair. He follows her to the house of a hay-trusser and peat-dealer where her comrades have gone to enjoy themselves. When Alec offers to take her home, she refuses to accompany him.

      Tess starts with her comrades at about eleven o’clock. She enjoys the moonlight very much - One of the latest favorites of Alec named Car presented a strangely ridiculous sight when some sweet syrup began to flow down her back. When Tess laughed at her along with other people, Car objected to it. When Tess said that she should not have come with a whore like her, all the comrades criticized her badly. She became very angry and stood apart.

      It was at this moment of fear and anger that Alec rode up to her and made her mount on his horse. On the way, he made her busy in talking and took her far away to the oldest wood of England. Tess was extremely tired so she became drowsy and her head sank gently against Alec. At this, Alec enclosed her waist with his arm to support her. She pushed him a little so he escaped rolling over into the road. This thing made Alec angry. This time he forced her to let him clasp his arm around her. When she came to know that she had lost the way, she asked Alec to put her down. She said that she would go on foot.

      At last Alec d’Urberville left her at a place and went to find out the road to the village. Tess was very tired, so she fell asleep on a bed of dry leaves with his light overcoat upon her body. When Alec d’Urberville returned and found her sleeping, he stooped over her so low that his cheek came into contact with hers. Then the devil in him defiled the chastity of unguarded and semiconscious Tess. No guardian angel came to protect her chastity. Perhaps the god of her simple faith was talking, pursuing or journeying while Alec succeeded in his evil designs on her. It was under these circumstances that the chastity of Tess was defiled by Alec d’Urberville.

      When Alec d’Urberville saw Tess again, he lost his sense of Christianity. His conversion into a Methodist preacher was only skin-deep. He found strange magic in her looks. He could not face her bright eyes. He was thrown off his feet in no time. The latent spirit of love and sensuality overpowered him. He confessed to her that she haunted his mind all the time. He lost all his firmness of mind. He thought that surely there never was such a maddening mouth as hers since Eve.

      Alec d’Urberville frequently met Tess at the Flintcomb farm. He often expressed his sense of regret for what he had done to her in the past. He often said that he had a great desire to do whatever he could do for her. He wished to help her parents and their children. He pursued her with cruel persuasion also. He held out a temptation to her in many ways. She knew the scoundrel very well, so she was not going to yield easily. He offered to marry her and to take her to Africa where he wanted to work as a Christian missionary. She felt alarmed at all things. She told him clearly that there was no question of marrying him for she did not love him at all. When Alec continued insisting on this point, she confessed that she had married a man. He asked her why she did not to live with her husband and why she subjected herself to so much hard work even after her marriage. She told him that her man had gone to a foreign country. He did not know that she was leading such a painful life of labor. Alec d’Urberville tried to guess that she lived alone because of some differences with her husband. He decided to take advantage of this situation.

      Alec continued to meet Tess now and then. He often offered to marry her. He spoke of her husband in ungenerous terms. He said to her that she was but a simpleton if she expected her husband to return home even after such a long time and suffering. One day this thing made Tess so much angry that she threw her glove against his face. It struck on his mouth and made his lower lip bleed. She was startled to see this scene of blood. Alec controlled himself and said that he was her master once and he would become her master again. If she was any man’s wife, she was his wife.

      Alec d‘Urberville continued to pursue her even after this event. Tess became afraid of him. She wrote a letter to her husband, but it reached him very late. When she returned to Marlott from Flintcomb-Ash, he did not spare her even there. He met her there and offered to marry her. She tried to avoid him in every way. He exploited her poverty and helplessness. She told him that she did not want anything from him. At this, the villain started giving help to her parents in order that he might win her sympathy. When her father died at the end of the harvesting season, Joan Durbeyfield and her children were compelled to leave Marlott and go to settle in Kingsbere. They had no money with them. He met them at this time of monetary trouble. He began to help them on the condition that Tess should marry him. He offered to give them the former poultry house after getting it whitewashed. Tess did not like it, but he continued insisting on it and asked her mother to shift to the house on the following day. But Mrs. Joan and Tess prepared a tent on the outskirts of their family churchyard. Alec d’Urberville offered to marry Tess again. This time the temptation was irresistible. Tess has to yield for saving her family from starvation. It was under some of these circumstances that Alec d’Urberville succeeded in seducing Tess for the second time.

      While describing how Angel Clare had lost her she told him how she waited and waited for him, but he did not turn up. He had come to her too late. It was too late for him to make her his own wife. She wrote a letter to him, but he did not return to her. Alec d’Urberville kept on saying that he (Angel Clare) would never come back to her. If she waited for him, she was a foolish woman. He showed kindness to her. He helped her mother in many ways. Thus he won Tess back. Thus the force of circumstances; fate and poverty all combined to work against her. She could not resist the temptation of which she had been afraid for many months. When she yielded to this temptation, Angel Clare returned to her. He was late by a week or so only, but he was too late to live happily with her. The reward of sin for both Alec d’Urberville and Tess was death.

University Questions

Describe the circumstances in which Tess is forced into the trap of Alec d’Urberville and has to lose her honour and chastity.
Narrate how Tess is seduced and defiled by Alec d’Urberville.
Describe how Alec d’Urberville succeeded in seducing and defiling Tess for the second time at Sandbourne.

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