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By C. H. Salter

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There is no law of nature about marriage and Hardy never supplies the "qualification", unless it is, as he also says in the jude Preface, that "a marriage should be dissolvable as soon as it becomes as cruelty to either of the parties", which would lead to obvious difficulties and goes further even than the present principle of irretrievable breakdown. In the Preface to The Woodlanders he calls "matrimonial divergence" "the immortal puzzle", and the quotation from Milton's Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce in jude further shows the timelessness of the puzzle.

Modernity 23 and Cerealia. " - form the conclusion of The Woodlanders. Hardy expressed the hope that "Aristotelian qualities might be found" in jude. More elaborately, Tess is in Aristotle's words, "in some sense a bit superior", "misfortune is brought upon [her] not by vice or depravity, but by some hamartia", she undergoes Anagnorisis or "the change from ignorance to knowledge", and, since tragedy is "the imitation of people acting" she, like Winterborne, "does good things". To Henchard, I incline to think.

34 Even in matters where Hardy feels deeply there is sometimes uncertainty of treatment, for instance cruelty to animals. We have the blinded bird, the caged goldfinch, the dying pheasants, the stuck pig, the rabbit caught in a gin, the dogs drowned and stoned, the horse kicked in the belly. But we also have cheerful pig-killings, and no authorial comment on the birds Swithin catches roosting for Lady Constantine's supper. 35 Hardy's limitations as a social critic may be indicated by contrasting him with George Eliot.

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