Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d'Urbervilles book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Who is a worse person: Alex or Angel in Tess of the d'Ubervilles?

Expert Answers info

alexb2 eNotes educator | Certified Educator


bookB.A. from Georgetown University

calendarEducator since 2004

write726 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

It's hard to say who is a worse person, but here are some things to consider:

Angel leaves Tess and has no real intention of going back to her; he cheats on her with a stranger; he is unable to forgive her when she admits to her dalliance with Alec; he asks a milkmaid and not Tess to go to Brazil with...

(The entire section contains 179 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

smartwriter | Student

The characters of both Alec and Angel share common negative qualities in their treatment of Tess, and it seems that both are worse in disregarding Tess as a human being but considering her as an object to be possessed and thrown away when not needed anymore.

Alec shows his worse personality quite clearly when he fulfills his desires by sexually harassing Tess. Furthermore, by helping to maintain the well-being of Tess's family, he unreasonably makes her reluctant to accept his various offers. For instance, Tess decides to marry Alec in order to improve the condition of her family as she is unable to provide for them by earning an inadequate salary.

Angel on the other hand is equally worse when he decides to abandon Tess as she is not a virgin, though he himself is not chaste either. It could also be observed that, his change affects Tess more than Alec's violation, as she undergoes tremendous emotional and physical struggle for a long time, in hope that some day Angel would recognise the fact that Tess does not deserve to be deserted for an act in which she did not willingly participate.

Thus, it seems that both characters are both in their treatment of Tess.

revolution | Student

I would say it would be Alex that is the worst person in the story. He had victimized Angel and had raped her by taking advantage over her, causing her to be pregnant, so he has the upper hand for threatening Tess, and later Alex killed him, ending the story tragically.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
hadoora23 | Student

After he knows Tess’s impurity, he right away turns his back towards Tess and hurts Tess deeply by
harsh words.
Scholar LI Hong-lan criticizes Alec for he ruthlessly destroys a naive country girl. But actually after Tess
gives birth to her child with Alec, she gradually acquires the ability to overcome the moral and social stigma and
thus maintains her dignity and sense of self. She becomes brave enough to face people’s gossips. Even after the
death of the child, grievous as she is, she manages to face life again and leaves in search of a new life. To Tess,
Alec’s wrongdoings towards her are not fateful. While in terms of Angel, who behaves quite different from a real
angel, his abandon is fatal to the poor Tess. Tess adores Angel whole-heartedly even blindly regarding him as a
saint. But Angel is hypocritical and crucial, forgetting all his promises to love Tess, he immediately leaves
Tess—his wife at the night of their wedding day after his acknowledgement of her unchaste affair. On his way of
leaving Tess, he even woos to Tess’s old friend. At the end of the novel, when Tess dies, he joins hands with Tess’s
sister. Compared with Alec, Angel is much more inhuman and hurts Tess both physically and emo

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
hadoora23 | Student

it is obviously that Angel stands for the bright and advanced class while Alec
the degenerated and hypocritical bourgeoisie. Compared with Alec, Angel is gilded with a flame of purity and
kind-heartedness. He seems to be the real angel.
However, the fact is, even Tess never cares about Alec and tells him several times that she does not love him
Alec still wants to woo her and take care of her family. On the contrary, Angel scarcely takes Tess’s family into

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
hadoora23 | Student

Alec accepts Tess’s request of possible kin without any reluctance. He writes a letter to
provide Tess with a job. He teaches Tess how to whisper in a proper way. He saves Tess from a terrible fight with
other women. When they two lose their way in the forest at night, Alec makes a comfort nest from dead leaves for
Tess and puts his overcoat round Tess before he leaves her. All these things he does are evidence to testify his love
to Tess. Moreover, in Alec’s mind there are no other girls leaving some traces, but only Tess who is special to him.
This point is showed clearly from his words “Tess, dear. I suppose I am a bad fellow—a damn bad fellow…But,
upon my lost soul, I won’t be bad towards you again…You can hold your own for beauty against any woman of
these parts, gentle or simple.2” In his mind, Tess is different from other women he had before, and even he himself
may not find that his special feeling towards Tess is somewhat out of true love.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
hadoora23 | Student

ithink angel is worse than alec may be alec hurts tess but angel destroys her angel do every thing that opposite to his promise he abandon her and does-not care for her moreover alec tries to help her and her family

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
proverbs31 | Student

I would have to say after much reading that Alec would be the choice because if iw was not for him in the first place Tess would not have been in the situation she was in with Angel because he(Alec) raped her and she became pregant as an result then he is the one who constantly victimize Tess day by day 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial