In 1891, Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented shocked Victorian audiences with its frank criticisms of Victorian moral hypocrisy. In 1925, Hardy wrote this stage adaptation for the Hardy Players, an acting troupe dedicated to staging his popular novels.
Tess Durbeyfield is a simple country maiden with strict ideas about moral pureness. After her family learns of their ancient aristocratic line of the d’Urbervilles, she is sent to the home of Alec d’Urberville, both to claim kin and potentially earn a husband. Instead, Tess is seduced by the rakish Alec and returns home pregnant, believing herself to be corrupted and unfit for love. Only Angel Clare, a caring man studying to be a gentleman farmer, convinces her otherwise. But Tess’ heartbreaking journey is only beginning, and reaches its conclusion at the altar of Stonehenge. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a story of romance, rejection, grief, and forgiveness—a timeless classic of the Victorian era.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles guide sections