Why does Tess agree to marry Angel

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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.


Why does Tess agree to marry Angel?

In “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” (1891) by Thomas Hardy, Tess agrees to marry Angel Clare for several reasons, although emotions and circumstances influence her decision. However, she denies marrying Angel Clare towards the first proposal, but then she agrees to do so. Here are some key factors that led to her acceptance of Angel’s proposal:

Love: Tess genuinely loved Angel Clare. During her time at the Talbothays Dairy, she developed a deep affection for him, and he became the object of her romantic feelings. Their shared experiences and time spent together at the dairy contributed to the growth of their emotional connection, and it led them to marriage. The narrator talks about their relationship-

“All the while they were converging, under an irresistible law, as surely as two streams in one vale.”

Social Aspirations: Tess saw Angel as a means to elevate her social status. She came from a poor background and faced many challenges due to her low social standing. Angel agreed to spend his life with Tess, obeying her past; marrying Angel, who came from a more affluent and educated background, promised a better life and a chance to rise above her difficult circumstances.

Desire for Redemption: Tess carries a burden of guilt and shame from her past encounter with Alec d’Urberville. Angel’s love and acceptance of her despite her past made her believe she could find redemption and be forgiven for her actions.

Idealization of Angel: Tess admired Angel’s progressive and idealistic views. He rejected the conventions of society, such as the double standards regarding women’s virtue, which appealed to Tess’s sense of justice and equality.

Proposal of Marriage: When Angel proposed to Tess, it caught her by surprise, and she may have felt overwhelmed by the intensity of his feelings for her. The prospect of marrying someone she loved deeply and who seemingly loved her unconditionally was undoubtedly a significant factor in her decision.

Obeying Her Past: Tess has a bitter experience with Alec, who is seduced by him and gives birth to a child. It was unknown to Angel. After getting a proposal for marriage from him, she wrote a letter informing him of her past to Angel. However, unfortunately, Angel was not aware of the letter. When Angel behaved generously after that day, Tess thought Angel knew everything. He wanted to marry, ignoring the past. That is why she agreed to marry him. 

To sum up, it is essential to note that while Tess agreed to marry Angel out of genuine love and hope for a better future, their marriage was ultimately affected by the complexities of their pasts and the inability to fully communicate and understand each other’s struggles.