The Significance of Princes Death in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

In: English and Literature

Submitted By RachelEllis
Words 863
Pages 4
At the time the novel is set in, horses such as Prince, were very important to keep up the livelihood of the poor working families such as the Durbeyfields. Prince’s death is a significant turning point in the novel as it triggers a change in Tess’s behaviour and therefore her future from then on with a series of unfortunate events.
Prince was vital to the Durbeyfield family as the only form of transport and manual labour they had, and without it John Durbeyfield can no longer make a living from buying and selling goods at the market. His death brings devastation to the family, and means that they need to find another source of income. Tess sees that she is now the only source of money for the family and feels duty-bound to help.
Tess is driven by intense guilt to make amends “Tis all my doing” which prompts the acceptance of her parents wish for her to go to the D’Urbervilles to seek a portion of the family fortune. This shows the true significance of the death of Prince as it forces Tess to help her parents as she feels she killed prince and ‘ought to do something’.
Moments before the death of Prince, Tess tells Abraham that they live on a ‘blighted star’ and that there is little chance of happiness for them. As if almost to reinforce the point, Princes death proves the fragility of life as poor working families (and therefore the lack of stability they need to have a successful living) and shows them as a victim of fate and the ‘blighted’ world they live on.
The fact that Tess is dreaming of her ‘shrouded knightly ancestry’ before Prince is killed by a large shard of metal could relate back to medieval times where jousters would receive similar injuries. It is almost like the features of Tess’s ‘extravagant’ dreams become a parallel reality as a ‘Prince’ suffered a twisted yet heroic death. This almost serves as a punishment for Tess’s grandiose subconscious…...

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