Tess- Religion

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  • Religion in Tess
    • Religion is, at times, presented as shallow and fleeting
      • Alec's conversion to Christianity
        • 'Such flashes as you feel I fear don't last!'
        • 'securing your pleasure in heaven by becoming converted...I hate it!'
      • The 'sign painter' spreads words of the Bible without fully understanding what they mean
    • Theme of paganism
      • Influence of ancestors
        • 'Sir Pagan D'Urberville'
          • Conflict between Paganism and Christianity
      • Tess finds peace at Stone Henge
        • 'sheltered', 'comforting'
        • 'So now I am at home'
        • 'I think you are lying on an altar'
          • Imagery of sacrifice- self sacrifice shows victory over fate
            • Authorial Comment- Tess is as pure and sacred as a Holy sacrifice
      • Tess's proximity to nature links with primitive religion
        • 'Daughter of the soul'
        • 'An integral part of the landscape'
      • Tess's paganism as a fight against fate
        • Imagery of sacrifice- self sacrifice shows victory over fate
          • Authorial Comment- Tess is as pure and sacred as a Holy sacrifice
        • Tess's metaphorical victory over death and fate by her 'rebirth' in Liza-Lu
          • Securing for her sister what she had sought for herself
    • The role of the 'President of the Immortals'
      • Fate controlling life- superstitions and omens
        • 'descending upon them the destiny'
        • D'Urberville legend 'committed a dreadful crime'
      • Creates the image of a cruel, controlling God
      • This references Zeus- master of the Gods
        • Possible exploration of potential meaning- why not president of the mortals?
          • Tess as a mythological 'everywoman'
    • Religion portrayed negatively
      • Angels Christian upbringing contributes to his inability to forgive Tess (despite having committed the same 'sin')
        • 'I admit, you were more sinned against than sinning'
      • Tess unwillingly swears to the devil at 'cross-in-hand'
        • 'Tis a thing of ill-omen...they say he sold his soul to the devil'
      • 'Where was Tess's guardian Angel?'
      • 'The bastard gift of shameless nature who respects no the civil law'
        • Religion views sorriw, an innocent baby, as damned and shameful
          • He cannot be buried in the 'Christian' part of the churchyard, but instead among the drunkards

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