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.
What do you know about Angel’s sleepwalking scene?
In the novel “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” (1891) by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), there is a significant scene involving Angel Clare, one of the main characters, sleepwalking. This scene occurs on the third night of Angel Clare’s separation from Tess, the story’s protagonist.
Background Story: Tess is raped by Alec, which makes her mentally broken. She begets a baby boy from this assault who dies immediately after birth. Tess fears marrying someone for this horrible past. Angel desperately wants to marry her. After getting married, Angel leaves her to learn about her history.
Description of the Scene: At around one o’clock that night, he enters her room and takes her in his arms. He wails that his wife has passed away and screams, uttering,
“My poor, poor Tess, my dearest, darling Tess!”
He lovingly kisses her on the lips before carrying her downstairs and out the door. He drags her down to the roaring river. A little footbridge crosses the river, which is overflowing due to the recent rain. It is dangerous to cross the bridge because it is so tiny. However, they do so safely. After carrying her there and kissing her mouth, he places her in an empty, lidless stone coffin in a deserted abbey. He then collapses on the ground and sleeps out. She worries they may freeze to death if they remain there, but she does not want to wake him because that would be embarrassing. She then carefully takes him back inside the house while holding him by the arms. The following day, he has no memory of the incident.
To conclude, Angel’s sleepwalking is a terrific outcome of his blaming Tess. If he forgives Tess, this novel will have no sleepwalking-like scene. His sleepwalking indicates the value of mutual understanding between a newly married couple.