Marian: Character Analysis in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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Her Personality

      Marian is the eldest of the three room-mates of Tess. She is also a very faithful friend of Tess. At Talbothays she remains throughout a jolly-faced woman. She always burns in the fire of love like all companions yet she makes them happy with her entertaining remarks.

Her Love for Angel

      Nobody can say that her love for Angel is less than that of Izz or Retty Priddle. Marian also wants to own him as all the others do. It is her frank outspokenness that she tells them all that none can become his wife because either he will marry Mercy Chant or with Tess. Since Angel remains disinterested and detached he never comes to know about the depth of their love. When she also finds herself desperate and out of hope, she starts drinking. Only once she tries to show her love to Angel when he was carrying them across the pool in his arms. But it is a pity that she cannot and Angel remains as aloof as he has been.

Her Love for Tess

      Marian never feels jealous of Tess. A thing which she herself cannot enjoy and if luckily there are some chances for Tess to enjoy she would easily hand over it to her. When she finds that Angel is out of her grasp, she becomes all help to Tess. Anyhow she came to know from Izz about the hard times of Tess. She invites her to Flintcomb-Ash. It is Tess’s ill-luck that she has to work under her enemy other wise Marian has done much to help Tess in living with pride. Like a most faithful friend she never conceals her secret there. Farmer Gorby always wants to crush Tess in drudgery and she is the only woman who offers her services in her place, though those services are never accepted.

      In the last Chapters of Tess we see that she is Marian who takes the initiative in writing a letter to Angel to come soon and not to try a woman beyond her power. Her letter bears fruits and Angel at once starts in her search.

A Cowardice

      Marian is not as bold as Izz. Izz faces all the difficulties without bringing a word of complaint on her lips, she drinks the bitter draughts of sorrows but never grumbles. But Marian is a coward. The same frustration which can do no harm to Izz, which cannot turn her mind, forces Retty to commit suicide and forces Marian to escape from the world and its adversities by drinking. It is very easy to forget oneself and the world around by taking alcohol, but it is very difficult to keep oneself in one’s senses and then to see everything against one’s self. While at Flintcomb-Ash Tess bears all the hardships, Izz faces all the difficulties, but Marian cannot do so. She controls the circumstances by loosing her ownself. She cannot dare encounter those miseries which are very much familiar to Tess and Izz. Yet she is a spotless character and an example of sincere love.

Main Aspects of the Character in a Nut-Shell

1. She is a jolly-faced woman.
2. She keeps her sorrows veiled and outwardly looks amusing.
3. Her love for Angel is also as sincere as that of Tess.
4. Her love for Tess exceeds her love for her own self.
5. But she is a coward. She escapes from herself from the frustrations of the world by drinking.
6. Yet she is a spotless character.

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