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Quotes

Quote #7

[…] but, outside humanity, she had at present no fear. (41.27)

Again, it's civilization, and people, that Tess fears – Nature and the outdoors seem safe to her.

Quote #8

Never in her life – she could swear it from the bottom of her soul – had she ever intended to do wrong; yet these hard judgments had come. Whatever her sins, they were not sins of intention, but of inadvertence, and why should she have been punished so persistently? (51.8)

Tess is crying out against the injustice of the universe – if she's never knowingly done wrong, or at least, has never had bad intentions, why should she be punished? The answer would seem to be that the universe is, in fact, an unjust place. The bad aren't always punished, and the good sometimes get punished for crimes that they didn't commit.

Quote #9

[…] he had asked himself why had he not judged Tess constructively rather than biographically, by the will rather than by the deed? (53.25)

Angel realizes his own injustice, and that the only real justice is in judging people by their intentions, rather than by their actions: "by the will rather than by the deed."

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