How is Tess of the D'Urbervilles a modern tragedy?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In a traditional tragedy, it is fate, sin, or a combination of the two that ushers in the tragic events. For example, in Oedipus Rex, the gods have decreed that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother, and much as he tries to avoid this fate, Oedipus cannot. The tragedy, in fact, provides the comfort of proving that the gods are in control. In the same vein, the plague that hits Thebes is not random but a direct punishment for Oedipus's sin—in Antigone, it will be for Creon's sin.

Likewise, in a play such as Hamlet or Macbeth, the tragic events result from evil, be it the corruption in Denmark or the entrance of supernatural witches into Scotland. The assumption is that there is a benign force in the universe (God) who is in charge and whose will is only temporarily thwarted. In the end, in all these plays, people get their just desserts and evildoing is punished, reaffirming that God or the gods are in heaven and all is right with the world.

Not so for Hardy. Hardy was a...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 615 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on