How was Prince killed in Tess of the D’Urbervilles

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a notable literary work by Thomas Hardy. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.


How was Prince killed in ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’? 

Prince, the Durbeyfield family’s horse in Thomas Hardy‘s (1840-1928) novel “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” (1891), dies in a tragic accident. This event occurs in Chapter 4, marking a crucial turning point in Tess’s life, which ultimately sets up the chain of events that lead to her ultimate downfall.

John Durbeyfield is Unable to Undertake the Journey: Tess’s father, John Durbeyfield, supplies beehives usually at night in the market of Casterbridge. He is a drunkard and is tired today due to heavy drinking. He must carry the beehives to the market within 2 A.M. It is one o’clock, and his wife informs him that he cannot undertake the journey.

Tess’s Sleepy Journey: The accident happens when the protagonist, Tess, is asked to take the beehives to the market. Her younger brother Abraham accompanies her, and they begin the journey. They are dragging through quite dark and are talking about stars. They both fall asleep, and Tess dreams about a modest suitor. Unfortunately, as they cross a tiny road, a mail cart suddenly hits their cart. The mail cart’s shaft goes directly into Prince’s chest, fatally injuring the horse. They wake up to the sound of the collision and see the pitiful sight:

“The pointed shaft of the cart had entered the breast of the unhappy Prince like a sword, and from the wound, his life’s blood was spouting in a stream and falling with a hiss into the road.”

In termination, losing Prince is a significant blow to Tess and her family, who depend on the horse for their livelihood. Prince’s death is not the result of malice but an accident of circumstances. However, Tess’s guilt over this incident leads her down a tragic path throughout the novel. This accident emphasizes Hardy’s themes of chance, fate, and the indifferent nature of the universe.