THE REVISIONS OF ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY IN TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES
Keywords:Persephone/Kore, Demeter, Artemis, Apollo, Hades, archetype, Angel Clare, Alec D’Urberville
Although the critics have traditionally observed the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles as the disapproval of Victorian morals and double standards, the aim of this work is to point out the fact that this novel also has a general, universal meaning. Using Lukacs’ concept of realistic fiction as a synthesis of particular and universal as a starting point, the author of this research claims that this novel is a story of the tragic destiny of a particular character, but that at the same time Tess Durbeyfield functions as an embodiment of the Archetypal Feminine. Myths are symbolic expressions of archetypes, and, apart from numerous parallels with the ancient myth of Demeter and Persephone, the novel contains allusions to the myth of Genesis and to classical gods like Artemis and Apollo. The character of Tess Durbeyfield is closely related to earth and natural laws. Tough she has a great mythic potential, nobody (with the exception of Alec D’Urberville), not even Tess herself, realises it. Tis leads to a tragic outcome. Contrary to Persephone, who, even though Hades carries her to the Underworld and pronounces her his wife, succeeds to return to Earth and to begin a new life, Tess never regains stability after she loses her virginity to Alec. She does not recognise Alec’s function in terms of initiation into the world of maturity. Her sole reaction is neglect of the sensual part of her nature and her turning to the spiritual. There is no projection of the archetype, which inevitably leads Tess to failure and death.
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