Angel is indeed above the other dairy workers at Talbothays' Dairy because he is from an upper class family and has been sheltered from some of life's vicissitudes. He finds that Tess is no "Hodge," nor are the other workers the stereotypical "dummy" of the Victorian newspapers. Instead, he perceives Tess as a virginal child of nature. But, when she does not live up to his expectations of her, Angel rejects her and leaves for Brazil.
Angel is a dreamer; like the celestial being after whom he is named, his thoughts are "in the clouds." Tess proves to be all too human, suffering "the ache of modernism," and he does not know how to react. After they are married, he also rejects his liberty of thought that has replaced his religious fervor when he learns of Tess's past. And, it is not until he goes away and spends years out of the country that he realizes how badly he has treated Tess in rejecting her. Finally, he becomes grounded and searches for his wife who has undergone much hardship and tragedy. Hardy writes, "All the while they were converging, under an irresistible law as surely as two streams in one vale."