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Quotes

Quote #1

"[…] she ought to make her way with 'en, if she plays her trump card aright. And if he don't marry her afore he will after." (7.37)

Mrs. Durbeyfield can tell that Alec is totally lusting after Tess, but she sends her off to work for the D'Urbervilles anyway, assuming that if Alec doesn't marry her "before" (sleeping with her), he will "after."

Quote #2

"And yet th'st not got him to marry 'ee!" reiterated her mother. "Any woman would have done it but you!" (12.76)

Tess comes home having been raped by Alec, but without having married him. This totally overturns Mrs. Durbeyfield's views of sex and marriage. Yes, marriage is generally supposed to happen first, but on the occasions when sex happens first, marriage is sure to follow – or so Mrs. Durbeyfield had persuaded herself.

Quote #3

There was hardly a touch of earth in her love for Clare. To her sublime trustfulness he was all that goodness could be – knew all that a guide, philosopher, and friend should know. She thought every line in the contour of his person the perfection of masculine beauty, his soul the soul of a saint, his intellect that of a seer. (31.6)

Tess looks up to Angel as some kind of supreme being. Not surprising, given his name (see "Character Analysis" section for Angel, and the "Character Clues" section for more on that). But the tragedy of the second half of the novel really stems from the fact that both Tess and Angel love the other as a supreme being – and both are disappointed when the find that the other is only human.

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