Tess, the Victim of the Dark Age Tess, the heroine, is depicted as a victim of the society. Being a beautiful, innocent, honest, and hard-working country girl, she is easily taken in and abused by the hypocritical bourgeoisie, constantly suppressed by the social conventions and moral values of the day, and eventually executed by the unfair legal system of the society. In my opinion, Tess’s tragedy reflects that the moral value and the society of the day is unfair. There is no equality between men and women. The subtitle of the novel is ‘a pure woman’. That made a great dispute at that time. The criticles thought that Tess, who had lost chastity before marriage, is guilty and she is also a murderer that must be punished. They held that such a woman can’t be called pure woman. But in the point of today’s legal system of the society, Tess is innoncent. She’s a victim who has been seduced. She is the one who should be paid for. Tess has a variety of merits. She is beautiful, but she never uses her beauty as a tool to exchange the things she needed. She has a noble pride, and is never feel shameful towards her poor family--‘Durbeyfield’. Even she scorn to recognize the wealthy fake relatives. She is responsible. When the family is too poor to keep the living, Tess become the bread winner of the whole family and do her best to support the family. She is sincere. She insists that she should follow her own feeling to marry a man she loves in deed. Why can’t we say such a woman is indeed ‘a pure woman’? The phrase‘A pure woman’ raise by the author just satirizes the unfair moral value and the veiw towards women’s virginity in the society at that time. In the movie, there is an evil, Alec who is the direct trouble maker of Tess. He is thoroughly sensual, violent and headstrong, and determined on getting his own way at all costs. Tess’s resistance to the fulfillment of his desires is puny when compared to his cunning maneuvers and ultimately fails. I think that Alec never seeks Tess out as a loving, equal partner. He reveals his feelings of superiority initially on the ride in the Chase, when he exclaims, ‘what am I, to be repulsed so by a mere chit like you?’ Clearly he assumes a cultural right, by virtue of class and gender, to possess Tess’s body. Later, after he has proposed to Tess, he reveals his motive to be not love but a desire for power when he states, ‘I was your master once! I will be your master again.’ In a word, Alec is just the symbol of the society that uses his wealth and power to gain everything he wants and realizes all his desire. Compared with Alec, I think Angel is more loathsome. Born to a life of the mind, Angel Clare values ‘intellectual liberty’ more than parental love. That he has reacted strongly against the heavily clerical family tradition by abandoning orthodox Christianity, and is opinionated of ‘the honor and glory of man.’ But all these advanced ideas can’t make Angel out of the earthly society. On their wedding night, Angel and Tess vow to tell one another their faults. Angel admits that he had a short affair with a stranger in London, while Tess admits about Alec D’Urbervile. After telling Angel her story, Tess begs for forgiveness as what she is done to Angel. But he claims that forgiveness is irrelevant, for she was one person and is now another woman in the same shape. Angel’s reflection reveals that in the society of male chauvinism, men and women will never be treated equally. Men can indulge themselves without the condemnation of the morality, but women’s losing chastity is unendurable. Angel is the very hypocrite in the traditional moral society. His love to Tess is far away from the love Tess gives him. I think that Angel doesn’t really love Tess. He just loves her ‘purity’. The putity is the one in the unfair traditional moral value. In fact, Tess herself also gets into the idea of the traditional society gradually. At first, when Tess leaves Alec and becomes pregnant, she see-saws between a tendency to be involved in disaster, and the human impulse to delight, which is very strong in her. With the harvest on in Marlott, the ‘spirit’ of life, of youth reasserts and overcoming her sense of mortification and shame through a long period of seclusion, she acquires courage to face life and to look ‘people calmly in the face’ even with her baby in her arms. The baptism and the burial of her infant ‘sorrow’ are symbolic of great moral strength and freedom of spirit that she can now display. Then, when Tess falls in love with Angel. Her love to Angel makes her accept the value of the temporal society gradually. Love and responsibility are Tess’s leading characteristics. But still young and inexperienced, she idealizes Angel and accepts what he says and does without question. Tess is terror stricken and looks at herself as a guilty woman posing as an innocent one. Accepting Angel as the sole dispenser of her punishment, and abdicating all the rights of a married woman, she meekly submits to his plan of their separation. Finally, Tess is taken up by the value in the society of male chauvinism, and becomes a really character of tragedy. Tess’s fate is not only personal, but a social one. A woman with Tess’s experience is doomed to be a tragedy. The reason is that this is a society of male chauvinism. Even in today’s society, it is still unequal between men and women. Men are often given privilege in some occasions, such as interveiw and so on. Most of the rural families prefer having a boy rather than girl. The phenomenon that women are looked down by the society still exist. Women haven’t the same rights as much as men do. We cannot do anything about it.