Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Alec Vs Angel

So I heard the argument a few times on who people thought was nicer out of these two characters and thought I would do a post on it to say what i thought. Obviously it’s not some big important message but it’s still pretty interesting as the opinion I seem to have heard the most was that people actually thought Angel was worse than Alec which I completely disagree with. The storylines following these two characters is that Tess goes to work for Alec during which time he rapes her, she then leaves only to have his child, after the baby’s death she goes to work elsewhere and meets Angel who she falls in love with and marries. The problem people have with Angel is that after they marry he tells her he actually slept with someone before, and in that moment, believing she was safe to, she told him her tale and he left her. He stays away for a long time in which she meets Alec again, now a repenting christian, and yet this doesn’t last long as he soon falls for her again and somehow persuades her to ‘marry’ him. Later on Angel comes back and so Tess murders Alec in order to be with Angel who accepts her despite this and they go together.

There is more to the story than this and of course there is loads of description and stuff around it but this is the general idea to it. My thoughts are that although neither are obviously good characters, Angel is by far the better as he does actually love Tess while Alec seems to just want her as a possession. Yes, Angel leaves her even when none of it was her fault and he had done the same, but he really did not mean to hurt her, where as Alec often actually seems to enjoy hurting Tess, at the end pushing her right to her limits. The thing that most people hate about Tess and criticise her for is her passivity, where as due to being me, as I kind of think i am like her in this respect, I feel less hate towards it. It does contribute to her downfall, but it’s how she is, and so I can’t truly blame that, she is just naive and sweet with no idea of all these things. Tess being passive is bad because of the way in which the others take advantage of this, obviously Alec especially, which is why I just cannot understand the viewpoint of how Alec can be a better person than Angel.

The idea from what I’ve heard is that people don’t mind Alec because he is at least honest and straight forward with how he acts and feels, he admits he is bad and just leaves it out as a fact where as in Angel you don’t exactly expect it when he isn’t all that great. Essentially I love poor little Tess and can understand her love for Angel and how he feels about her being impure (although I don’t agree with it) where as Alec has no remorse and no redeeming traits, at least to me.

So, what do you think? Would love to hear in comments!

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‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ – Thomas Hardy

I finished this book literally less than a minute ago and I absolutely loved it which really surprised me. The majority of what I read and what are my favourites are modern young adult books but for some reason this book really captured my attention somewhere along the way. Tess was a wonderfully designed character with so much that I could relate to, not that I have ever been through any of the terrible things she goes through but by how she looks upon things and so that for me was really good. Also, the other characters were also really interesting, by which I mean Angel and Alec as both have major parts within the novel and were the cause of nearly all of the emotional parts.

The actual story was also incredible, I loved the flow of it; the way it went from highs to lows, from cliffhanger to cliffhanger, something that you don’t get in many books now as they are published all at one so only need one real climax where Tess was published through small installments. It’s the kind of book where you know from the start it is not going to be the happiest of stories, with so much foreshadowed and hinted at that it sets the later events up so well. I already knew many of the main points of the story before reading it and if you don’t have any idea of what is to come it may be a bit harder to get really into the story as Hardy tends to go off on description a lot which could put you off. However when you are really immersed in the story it is amazing, the description to many people I know is something hated but I love it as it made the whole thing more real and i was constantly on edge, especially at the end, wanting to know exactly how the dreadful situations the characters are put in would end.

My favourite part was probably where Tess told Angel of her past purely because this is one of the lowest points for Tess and leads to so much that happens later on, so for me was one of the saddest and most impactful parts of the novel. My favourite line however was ‘Because what’s the use of learning that I am one of a long row only – finding out that there is set down in some old book somebody just like me, and to know that I shall only act her part’ as it really shows the fragility of Tess and the very hopelessness of her situation as she is fated to follow a certain path.