Tess Durbefield is the heroine of the novel,Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. In this novel,we see that Tess is raped by Alec d’Urbervilles. So she is pure no more in the eyes of only a very orthodox. Hardy himself fires it more whe he calls her a “maiden no more.” Some people may ask how Tess can be comsidered to be pure when Hardy himself declares it. We should keep in mind that Tess has lost her maidenhood under certain circumstances. This does mean the loss of her purity. In the physical sense, Tess is a virgin. But her spirit and mind continues to be pure still. Her flesh is now tainted but her spirit.
Tess is a pure woman. she goes to Trantridge when she is compelled by her mother. She does not like it. But she realises her responsibility and works as a farm keeper. Alec comes to take her from her home to Trantridge. He is attracted by her face and figure as soon as he sees her. He tries to push strawberries into her mouth. But Tress tries to resist him but in vain. On the way, Alec kisses her against her will. Tears come into her eyes as a reaction of it.Tess wipes with her hand on her cheek where he has kissed her. Alec kisses her again. So Tess become very agry with him. She becomes an employee in the d’ Urberville household. Alec now keeps forcing himself upon her attention. Tess feels disgusted with his advances. Thus we see there is no symptom of flirt in her. She is never pleased at the advances of Alec. So she is pure by nature and attitude.
Nature plays an important role in the seduction of Tess. Alec seduces her in the nature of a rape. He rapes her literally. Tess fails to protect herself. Neither her mind nor her heart plays any role in it. Of course , she is no longer a virgin but her purity is intact. we find that she has passed a brief period in the Unbervilles household after her seduction. we find no news of her sexual contact with Alec after that night in the wood. So there is no doubt that tess is a pure woman spiritually.
After four months of her seduction, Tess return home. She gives birth a baby. This is only her sin. But he is not blamed for it. She was helpless in that circumstances. She has been an unwilling sinner. She hates Alec and refuses his offer again and again. we find that the burden of her existance has become intolerable to her. Her brothers and sisters are shelterless. Her husband has already left her. In this situation, Tess surrenders to him in almost an unconcious way. This is not her willing surrender. Her body surrenders. Her mind and spirit semain intact. This is proved at last. As soon as Angel comes to her ,she stabs Alec to death.
We find that Tess has committed at least two sins. She surrenders her bodz to him. She has committed a sin in this respect. But here she is compelled to commit it by her circumstances . Tess murders Alec.Her murder has nothing to do with purity at all.
To sum up it becomes clear that Tess reaches a purity of spirit even if she fails to satisfy the standards of the world.