The Role of Fate in Tess of the Durbervilles

The Role of Fate in Tess of the Durbervilles


The importance of fate in Thomas Hardy’s book “Tess of the D’urbervilles” (1992) is a major feature that makes Tess unforgettable and important. Tess’ life as a victim of the so-called grip of fate appears to be shown in this novel, according to its content. Tess’ life is controlled by fate, which readers discover when they read the book. Whatever she does in her life to improve her situation has no effect because everything in her life is pre-planned and predestined by destiny. It would be extremely beneficial to divide Tess’ life into stages in order to understand the role of fate in her life.

Three phases of Tess’s life

Because of the various terrible circumstances in Tess’s life, her existence might be divided into many periods, although it would be simple to confine Tess’ existence to three periods: her childhood at her parents’ home, her parents’ divorce, and finally Tess’s tragic death.

The first stage of the parental home

Tess is the oldest daughter in a poor family, and she is responsible for all of the home’s duties. She has to care for her younger siblings as well as household duties because she is the oldest daughter of the family. Her father, on the other hand, is an inebriant who neglects to look after Tess and the family. He makes no effort to conceal his suffering. Her father’s risky behavior is well known to Tess. As a result, she resolved to assist her family with their company.

Her responsible attitude toward improving the family’s socio-economic situation led her to assist them. Tess understands that her father is physically and mentally unfit to transport a cargo of beehives to the market in less than a few hours when she learns of his drunken condition. She then decides to sell the beehives as soon as possible after that. However, she is unaware of the upheaval that will rock her family’s life in the future.

Prince, Tess’ horse, collides with a local mail cart and dies in the collision when Tess and her brother Abraham go to the market. To put it another way, Tess’ death is a terrible and uninvited omen for her, which she does not want. Their financial situation deteriorates and worsens when the horse dies. When she says, “My family’s status,” it is obvious.

“Tis all my doing – all mine! No excuse for me – none. What will mother and father live on now? Aby, Aby! We can’t go on with our load – Prince is killed!”

The death of the prince is the first event in her life that occurs. Tess’s life is taken to the second episode, which is full of difficulties and sorrows, by the conclusion of this episode.

The helpless inception of the second stage

Tess has to work for Mrs. after the horse’s death. To help her family financially, D’Urbervilles built a house. Mrs. was hesitant to have her come at first. She had no option but to rescue her family when D’Urbervilles’ home was threatened. She first encounters Alec, who is a human-animal hybrid, when she arrives at her destination. In terms of age, Alec believes he and Tess are much the same. Alec is drawn to Tess’s gorgeous and magnetic appearance when she first appears. Alec’s seductive plan isn’t something Tess is aware of. Alec speaks the truth about his character.

“I can say no more. I suppose I am bad fellow – a damn bad fellow. I was born bad, and I have lived bad, and I shall die bad in all probability”.

The separation between Tess and Angel

When she resolves to leave the house in order to find work so that her family may financially support them, she is in for something much worse. As she meets Angel Clare, who works at a dairy farm, some of her happiest memories are realized at this point. Almost all women like Angel Clare, but he is drawn to Tess’ beauty and humility. At first sight, he falls in love with her.

Tess undoubtedly feels joyful after a lengthy depression during this brief time period. Angel Clare’s past life is haunting her like a ghost, and this joy with her does not last long. She attempts to inform him about her past life whenever she is with Clare, but she is afraid and feels that Clare would abandon her if he learned the truth of her life, so she fails miserably. Clare might not let him go because she didn’t do anything wrong, which she sometimes worries about. Alec’s pregnancy is the result of a simple error.

Tess, on the other hand, is a 100 percent pure woman who refuses to keep anything from Angel. She writes a letter about her previous life before the wedding and places it in Angel Clare’s room, hoping that he will not sense she has betrayed him in love. Clare, on the other hand, does not receive the letter and is married.

Both characters go on their honeymoon after getting married. When both characters decide to discuss the secrets of their past, a storm of devastation enters their married life, destroying everything they have worked so hard for. Angel Clare’s concealment about his romance with a girl is undoubtedly accepted by Tess. When she informs him that Alec seduced her, the situation swiftly changes. Angel Clare is unable to accept this bitter truth, so she explains that she had to suffer a lot for this.

“O Tess forgiveness does not apply to the case. You were one person; now you are another. My God – How can forgiveness meet such a grotesque – prestidigitation as that?”

Reunion and tragic death

Tess starts to think that her spouse will return to her one day and they will live happily ever after Angel Clare departs Tess. Tess marries Alec and has a failed marriage after a lengthy period of Angel’s absence. When Angel Clare appears in Tess’s life, a new and bothersome chapter begins to pound on the door of her existence. Since they have no hope of seeing and meeting each other, Angel Clare and Tess are both taken aback when they see each other. Angel says nothing and accepts the truth when he learns that Tess is Alec’s wife.

Clare ultimately decides to marry Alec and live with her. Tess goes to bed after meeting Clare. She is surprised to see the letter she sent to Clare in the box when she opens the drawer. Clare never received the letters she wrote for him, and she now realizes this. Alec conceals the letters in a secret place.

She believes that Alec is responsible for all of her problems, both major and minor, from beginning to end. Now, enraged, she plots to vengeance Alec and murders him. Tess meets Angel Clare and has a couple of memorable encounters with him after murdering Alec. Since she knows the truth that she can’t continue her life with him due to Alec’s death, she tries to make her last encounter with him an unforgettable experience. Tess is ultimately executed for killing Alec.


It is simple to infer that Tess’s life is controlled and governed by fate, as shown and observed throughout the novel, since she has had all of her terrible and tragic experiences. Tess is exceptional because there is no end to her sadness, which brings tears to the reader’s eyes. The other characters in the novel feel some relief and happiness in their lives, but Tess remains alone. Tess’ persona will always be remembered for her boundless grief and the role of destiny in her life, to say the least.

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