Tess of the d'Urbervilles Summary

In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Tess goes to work for a family that has assumed the name of Tess's distant ancestors, the d'Urbervilles. She's raped by Alec d'Urberville and forced to work menial jobs after their child dies. In the end, she kills Alec and is executed for her crimes.

  • Tess and her father are both peasants, but learn that they descend from a noble line. She starts working for Mrs. d'Urberville, formerly Mrs. Stoke, whose family has assumed the name of Tess's noble ancestors.

  • Alec d'Urberville rapes Tess. She bears his child, but it dies. Retreating to her home in the country, Tess works a menial job and marries a sweet man named Angel who deserts her after she tells him about her past. He moves to Brazil, and she's left alone.

  • Abandoned, Tess succumbs to Alec's renewed pursuit. Tess later kills Alec and flees into the country, where she meets up with Angel, who has only recently returned from Brazil. In the end, she's arrested and executed for her crime.
Additional Content
  • Overview
  • Summary (Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)
  • Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)
  • Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)
  • Summary

(The entire section is 6151 words.)