A Study of the Tragic Vision in Selected Novels of Thomas Hardy

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Al- Basher Muhammed, Ali
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This study aims to examine the tragic vision in selected novels of Thomas Hardy. The study is divided into six chapters, in addition to an introduction and a conclusion. Chapter One gives a general consideration of various definitions of tragedy . First, it provides a description of Hardy's tragic vision. Secondly, it gives a brief note on Hardy’s quality of writing and views on tragedy. Chapter Two examines the tragic vision in Hardy’s The Return of the Native Hardy emphasized that the tragedy he presents in The Return of the Native is universal. It is Eustacia, the first of Hardy’s tragic heroines, who is judged: for wanting to escape Egdon Heath, and for her illicit relationship with Wildeve. The judgement is her death by drowning in the arms of her lover. Chapter Three examines the tragic vision in Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. In this novel, Hardy traces the downfall of a respected man, Henchard, “The Mayor”. The novel also portrays a tragedy of generations, the old must give way to the young or new. Chapter Four examines the tragic vision in Hardy’s The woodlanders. In this novel Hardy represents the cycle of seasons as being both comforting and painful. The novel might be taken as evidence of an increase in Hardy’s pessimism in that its hero Melbury does not tempt fate in any obvious way as an ambitious man might be said to do: all he wants is to be happy and for this he is judged. Chapter Five examines the tragic vision in Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Pure Woman). The novel is a tragedy of the individual. It is a tale of a poor girl, Tess, whose misfortunes are so great that in the end she iii 6 murders a man and is hanged. It is a dark novel, but there is beauty in the tragedy and in the poetry. Chapter Six examines the tragic vision in Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. It is extremely pessimistic. It is Hardy’s only novel with a contemporary setting: social class and convention are no less than a prison, so that poor Jude is double locked into his obscurity. Finally the study concludes that Thomas Hardy considered tragedy as the most important form of literature as it reflects the truth of life.