As an aesthetic form, tragedy can not only reveal the eternal value and lofty realm, but also show the joys and sorrows of ordinary people. As a common theme of ancient and modern songs, love has the same but different expressions in the presentation of tragedy. Zweig’s letter from a Strange Woman tells the story of a spoonful woman who exposes her bitter love to her beloved writer at the last moment of her life. Hardy’s Tess of the D ‘Urbervilles describes the story of pure woman Tess’s broken love and eventual destruction in the capitalist society. They all take women as the description object, convey the attention to the fate of women, create a tragedy about love. Due to the influence of writers, times, society and other factors, they show different personalized characteristics.
First, tragic image: the bud of female self-consciousness
Zweig’s novella Letter from a Strange Woman, published in 1922, portrays a spoonful strange woman who embodies the bud of female self-consciousness. She planted the seed of love when she first met the writer at the age of 13, but it never came to fruition. After that first meeting, she began to work hard to change herself: “I used to be a mediocre student in school, and now SUDDENLY I’m no. 1. I read thousands of books, often late into the night, because I know you like books; All of a sudden I took to practising with a sort of stubbornness, much to my mother’s astonishment, for I thought you liked music.” A “I kissed the doorknob you touched and picked up a cigar butt you threw away before you walked in the door.” In order to see him, she waited for him in hutong rain or shine; For him, she alone endured the pain of pregnancy and childbirth under difficult circumstances; For him, she refused everything, would always be free for him; Because I love him, I do not want to bind him. In the face of the writer again and again forgotten, she still sent him a bunch of white roses every year. She tried her best to make him remember her, but she could not. Her love
Regardless of personal danger, regard him as the goal and pursuit of his life, devote his life to him, resist the traditional love and marriage pattern, and raise the child alone without complaining. She took the initiative in love, bravely pursue love, but love is not human, the end is not satisfactory. This is related to Zweig’s view of women to a certain extent. He advocates the awakening of women’s self-consciousness and believes that women should be given the right to express themselves, so the “strange woman” in his writing has complete autonomy for love, which also evolved into a lifelong obsession. At the time when Zweig lived, Hitler brutally massacred Jews. As a Jew, he lost his homeland and suffered from discrimination. His ideal pursuit of humanism was shattered and came to nothing at that time.
Hardy’s Tess of the D ‘Urbervilles was written in 1891. Tess was hard-working, kind and pure, and she also reflected the characteristics of women in the new era. She is not willing to be with the ya lei that oneself does not love together, be occupied by ya Lei boldly leave, rely on oneself of both hands support oneself, break tradition, to lose chastity to bring cruel consequence to oneself without fear; Brave and Clay frank their own experience, in Clay away from home, oneself a person struggling to support, declined the help of others, endure the ridicule of the world, to deal with the bad environment. “Mrs. Clay,” she resolutely ceased to use and never appealed to Clay’s parents. Her self-respect embodies the budding sense of self of Victorian women. In order to get back to her lover again, she killed Yalei. Her pursuit of love is desperate and costs her life. She abandoned the old tradition and pursued the combination of soul and flesh in love. She questioned the original social ethics and did not think that chastity represented everything and had the characteristics of modern women. Like “strange women”, she believes that happiness should be in her own hands, so she courageously pursues love, dares to rebel against tradition and is full of enthusiasm for life. However, she suffers from invisible constraints from various aspects, resulting in an imperfect ending. In a Sense of Time, Thomas Docherty analyzed Hardy’s characters: “Their advance into the future is always blocked by a kind of backward time… Hardy’s characters take one step forward and one step back.” B Therefore, Tess also embodies a certain contradiction, with the awakening of female consciousness, but it is not complete. Hardy lived in the era of transition from free capitalism to imperialism, and the small-scale peasant economy gradually went bankrupt. He saw the great social change brought pain to the people, but struggled to find a way out without success, and was more disappointed with life. Influenced by this thought, Tess in his pen is doomed to a tragic fate.
They all reflect the budding of female self-consciousness, but the outcome is different. “Strange woman” has never been loved or remembered by the writer. “Only you, only you never recognized me!” Calm tone full of her not calm and sad past, she is like a traveler, spoony love just moved their own. Tess had real love, eventually, such as Clay’s change of heart, accepted her, although only temporary happiness. Different from the “strange woman” waiting for her whole life, Tess’s resistance to love and society is somewhat extreme. The woman who refuses too much can only fulfill her heart in a decisive way — destruction, not only of the other party, but also of herself. The awakening of female self-consciousness has certain significance for the society at that time and today.
2. External causes of tragedy: the society dominated by male power system
Engels once pointed out that human practice is always restricted by objective historical conditions, but specific human actions can have a certain advance, but such practice often leads to failure due to the lack of realistic foundation, which constitutes the tragic elements of the subject of practice. C Male power system is also called patriarchy. The society of male power system has a long history, which has put women in the dominant position and become the other.
Zweig lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when female consciousness was nascent but male discourse still dominated. His “strange woman” has the autonomy of love, but has to depend on the male existence. “Strange women” are not really independent because they give themselves to rich men to raise their children. “Strange woman” clearly know the merciless writer, still silently pay everything for him, willing to endure all the hardships for him. But the writer, after reading the letter, did not even remember her whole image. He was flirtatious, flirtatious, cynical. But she quietly chose to accept and understand, sending him a bunch of white roses every year, hoping he would recognize her. She lost herself, in this self-righteous love humble to dust, has not achieved equal status with the writer. When she died, her only request to the writer was that he should buy white roses every year, as if she were in his heart. She eventually becomes a male appendage, emotionally attached to him. The strong appreciation of the image of strange women corresponds to the requirements of the patriarchal society for women: loyalty and specificity, that is, women should have nothing else in their life except the pursuit of love, and they should try their best to gain the recognition of men, which makes her pay the price of her whole life. However, the society has made a different evaluation standard for men. The writer R is romantic and flirty, but he is still charming, glamorous and successful, which shows the oppression of women in the society dominated by the patriarchal system.
In Victorian Britain, capitalism flourished, but false moral codes still permeated society. Male power dominates, and “piety, chastity, obedience and meekness” are the requirements for women. At the beginning of the novel, due to the poverty of the family, the mother wants to marry Tess to a rich family, regardless of Tess’s wishes. People use women as tools for economic gain and women are seriously objectified. Patriarchal era for women’s moral requirements is absolute purity and loyalty, Tess was insulted, the victimizer Yalei no guilt color, no punishment, but turned into a high-sounding preacher; The victims have to bear people’s condemnation and ridicule, and even some women also ridicule Tess, which shows that they have accepted the social norms, but also become the perpetrators. Tess thinks she is guilty, too. She is afraid to go out and has no courage to accept true love when it comes. When she confessed to Clay, who could not accept it, she said, “I will obey you as you are a poor humble slave. I will not disobey you even if you tell me to fall down and give my life.” D) The idea of male power makes women completely lose themselves. The evaluation criteria for men and women in the patriarchal society were not consistent. As an intellectual in the new era, Clay was baptized by new ideas and despised and resisted the old tradition, but he could not get rid of the moral kidnapping and restraint of women in the traditional patriarchal society. He understates his own experience, but deliberately magnifies the behavior of women, with different standards to request Tess, which has become the last straw to crush Tess. Men shrug off their own debauchery while pinning female victims to shame. In this deep-rooted patriarchal system, women are the victims.
“Strange woman” and Tess have the bud of female consciousness and the initiative to master their own destiny, but they are ultimately subject to the society and The Times. The society dominated by male power is destined to put women in a humble situation, no matter in love or social status, so once they are ignored and abandoned, they can only get a tragic end.
Tragedy shaping: different writing of fate tragedy
Wang Guowei said in his Commentary on a Dream of Red Mansions that Schopenhauer divided the view of tragedy into three categories: “The first kind of tragedy is constructed by the most evil person and all the abilities; The second kind of tragedy, due to blind destiny; The third kind of tragedy, which is necessitated by the position and relations of the characters.” E We can summarize it as the tragedy of character, the tragedy of fate and the tragedy of society. Both novels are tragedies of fate, but the core of tragedies of fate is not the same.
Hardy lived in a patriarchal society and read many ancient Greek tragedies, which believed that god controlled all the fates and human beings could not get rid of them at all costs. Although hardy’s characters are more common people, his description of their inexorable fate further reveals deeper social connotation, with more fatalism color. He believed that man was powerless to confront the mighty universe and had to passively accept his fate. After Tess was humiliated, the author once said that it was impossible to get rid of; After Tess’s death, the author attributed it to fate. At the same time, a series of coincidences led to the tragic turn: the sudden death of the old horse let Tess have to go on the road of kinship; Tess put the letter to Clay under the carpet, Clay happened to see, this is the tragedy of the fuse; In her for the sake of the family had to commit to ya Lei, Clay suddenly come back. This series of coincidences let Tess step by step into the hopeless situation. Reincarnation in fatalism is also pulling the development of the matter. After Tess was humiliated, Hardy once described that his ancestors had done similar things to the farmer’s daughter, to an even greater extent. The fate of karma imperceptibly leads to such an outcome, which also reflects the concept of original sin in Western culture: Tess was born guilty, which doomed her tragedy. In the tragic view of fate, everything has been doomed, Tess has fought many times, but the result is disillusionment. The pure color of Tess, a beautiful figure, was incompatible with the booming capitalism at that time, and her struggle could only be drowned by the flood of The Times. Therefore, what is beautiful is always unfortunate, which is also the implication to be conveyed by tragedy.
Zweig’s “strange woman” also leads to the tragedy of fate, but different from Hardy’s theory of coincidence, fatalism of retribution and religious fate, what he wants to convey is the tragedy of fate caused by the contradictions of women themselves. Zweig’s depiction of the female psyche is remarkable, as he justifies free will on the one hand and wants to control it on the other. In his opinion, only rational will control and guide free will, women can truly obtain the meaning of survival, otherwise they will be destroyed. F However, the rational will of the “strange woman” did not overcome the free will. She wanted to pursue personal independence and break free from the fruitless love to seek a broader world, but she could not control her own emotional expression and was trapped deeper and deeper in the wishful love and could not break free. Therefore, the end of “Strange woman” is also doomed. From the perspective of human nature, the contradiction between women’s free will and rational will is inevitable. Therefore, Zweig only sighed, which also conveyed zweig’s humanitarian spirit.
The occurrence of any tragedy is not unilateral. Although the tragedy of “strange woman” and Tess is the tragedy of fate, their character, morality and social status are also invisible to promote them, which jointly lead to the occurrence of tragedy.