Good and Evil in Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Though the central action of Tomas Hardy's novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" centres on Tess, the other characters are not lacking in interest and individuality. Undoubtedly, Tess's life is marked by two contradictory temperaments, those of the sensual Alec d'Urberville and the intellectual Angel Clare. Both characters are described with artistic detail to show a blend of weakness and strength governed by fate. Both are flesh and symbol complementing the other in the fall and rise, rise and fall again of Tess herself, and both play crucial roles in shaping her destiny.
Although Alec is the evil man in Tess's life, he has some good qualities, coming trough us more as a man than Angel does. Alec is tall with a dark complexion, crude red lips and black moustache. There are touches of barbarism in his contour as well as a singular force in his face. Alec feels sexually attracted to Tess from the very beginning and showing to be straightforward with regard to what he wants and how to achieve it, he will do anything to take her. Finally, his dark instincts reveal and taking advantage of Tess's youth and innocence, he seduces her. Although we cannot forgive him for raping Tess, we have to recognise that he is not a complete villain. What he shows is a combination of desire to master her again and a genuine regard for her welfare. He is troubled for his sight of her agonizing labor at Flintcomb Ash, he reacts against society for its cruel treatment of Tess's family and he offers to help her in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, Alec is angry at her ingratitude and very often taunts her about her missing husband, until in the end Tess kills him.
The other man in Tess's life is Angel Clare, the youngest son of the vicar of Emminster. Angel is a handsome man of twenty-six years old, bright and well educated. Since he chose not to go to the ministry, like his two elder brothers, his father doesn't send him to Cambridge for further studies. Angel chooses farming for his vocation and as a result he goes to Talbothday's Diary to learn all that he needs, being precisely there where he falls in love with Tess. Hardy reveals Angel as an interesting and complex character, full of contradictions and confusions. In many ways he is a modern man, as...