What is Hardy's tragic and ironic vision in "Tess of the d'Urbervilles"?
Thomas Hardy was a fatalist. He believed that human life is out of the direct control of the human being. Every devastating or fortunate event that occurs is merely the result of fate. In "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", that tragic lack of hope is manifested in the guilt of a young rape victim. Tess feels immense guilt despite her inability to control what happens to her. The immense irony is that, while she feels guilt about being raped, she feels no guilt when she murders her rapist. This irony causes the reader to question the idea of justice. What is justifiable? What can we control? What is the purpose of guilt?