Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #4

"[…] since you will probably have to leave at Christmas, it is in every way desirable and convenient that I should carry you off then as my property." (32.18)

It's surprising to realize that even a relatively good man like Angel Clare would buy into the idea that a wife is her husband's property.

Quote #5

By the time they reached home she was contrite and spiritless. She was Mrs. Angel Clare, indeed, but had she any moral right to the name? Was she not more truly Mrs. Alexander D'Urberville? Had intensity of love any power to justify what might possibly be considered in upright souls as culpable reticence? (33.53)

Just after her marriage to Angel, Tess muses on the difference between natural law and social laws. Is there a difference between the two? If "marriage" is just a physical union between two people resulting in procreation then, sure, she married Alec D'Urberville. Or, to be fair, he married her. Without permission. Or is love a social union? If so, then she's only married to Angel.

Quote #6

"How can we live together while that man lives?" (36.82)

In other editions, Angel adds that Alec is Tess's husband in nature, if not legally. So again, there's a distinction between natural law and social law.

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