Gender prejudice in the Victorian Era: an elucidation of Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”
History adequately captures the Victorian society as having existed on the tenets of exploitation, double standards and hypocrisy. The more intriguing character of the Victorian society was that women bore the brunt of the society’s inequality, injustice and unfairness. This paper examines British history with the intent of exposing the variables that shaped and defined the Victorian era consciousness, especially the collective perspective about gender related issues. This investigation is undertaken through an in-depth analysis of Thomas Hardy’s novel; “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”. The article presents a historical narrative of the gender irregularities and biases that defined the Victorian woman. The paper adopts the feminist theory as framework of analysis, because of its utility in deconstructing mechanisms for questioning and interrogating societal vices, especially the raison d’être for the subjugatory and oppressive patriarchal dictates that existed in the Victorian era. The article conducts an assessment of Thomas Hardy’s female character, Tess, especially on issues relating to her death. The paper concludes that Africa can learn from the progress made by the West through the harsh Victorian era, till this era of very minimal gender-discriminatory practices.
Keywords: Africa, Patriarchy, Subjugation, Tess, Victorian