Tess Essay-Planning


  • There are many moments of significance
  • The rape of Tess is the central event in the novel

Para 1

  • The rape itself
  • Tess is attempting to flee he danger of her co-workers
  • Alec takes advantage while she is half-asleep
  • He had had desires on her since the day they met
  • He is a predator
  • Hardy criticises Christianity, which allows the weak to be persecuted by the strong

Para 2

  • Tess was forced by her parents to “claim kin” after the death of the family horse
  • Her parents use Tess’s feelings of responsibility to encourage her
  • Their real desire is to marry Tess to Alec for his money
  • Her parents fecklessness push Tess into this chain of events
  • Her sense of responsibility and acquiescence allow them to do this

Para 3

  • As a result of the rape, Tess’s romance with Angel is destroyed
  • It reveals Angel’s hypocrisy
  • He claims to be “modern” and forgiving but he rejects Tess when he discovers she is not “pure”
  • Tess’s heartbreak after this drives her ever downwards, first to work at Flintcombe Ash, then to give in and become Alec’s lover
  • Finally, she is driven to murder her rapist, and she hangs for this crime


  • The rape Tess suffers is a key event because it demonstrates her weak characteristics (acquiescence to the powers of others) and sets in train the further tragedy that follows
  • The scene reveals Alec d’Urberville’s ruthlessness
  • Finally, the scene allows Hardy to criticise the Christian faith, which does nothing to protect Tess