Why does Alec’s family take the name d’Urberville?

Before settling near Marlott from northern England, Alec’s family was known by the name Stoke. Alec’s father acquired great wealth before relocating his family, and he was concerned about the family’s ability to blend in with the new region and its people. In order to draw less suspicion about their wealth and its origins, Alec’s father decided to have the family take on the name Stoke-d’Urberville and then simply d’Urberville so as to make it seem as if the family inherited their wealth. This name, which was somewhat familiar, also aided in the comfort the locals felt toward the new family. 

Why is Angel at the dairy farm?

Angel, although born to a parson in a heavily religious family, denies his father’s wishes that he follow in Mr. Clare’s footsteps like his brothers. This denial of his father’s wishes stems from Angle’s rebellious nature and his own personal vision of goodness, which differs from that of his father. Instead of becoming a parson, Angel wishes to learn the trade of dairy farming so that he may eventually run his own farm. This plan is what leads Angel to the Talbothays. 

Why does Tess hide her ancestry from Angel?

Prior to Tess confessing to Angel that she is actually a d’Urberville, Angel expresses to her his disdain for wealthy families, such as the d’Urbervilles, due to their selfish hoarding of wealth and morally ambiguous dealings and ways of coming into that wealth. These expressions cause hesitation in Tess, and she prolongs telling Angel of her ancestry for much of their relationship. Despite his misgivings, however, Angel does not condemn Tess when he learns her true name, as she has had no dealings with the actual family or its wealth. 

Why does Angel hold Tess’s past against her, despite his own promiscuity?

Tess of the d’Urbervilles is set in a time in England where women were still expected to be virgins at the time of their marriage. It was a taboo and shameful act for a woman to have sex outside of her marriage. This taboo is rooted in misogyny, as men are not held to the same standard. This is made evident by the fact that Tess finds it easy to forgive Angel for his affair, yet Angel’s first reaction to Tess’s confession is to beg her to deny it and then flee.

Why does Tess agree to marry Alec?

After the death of Mr. Durbeyfield and Angel’s abandonment of Tess, the Durbeyfield family struggles to secure enough income to remain in their home. This leads the remaining Durbeyfields to be evicted from their home. Initially, Tess rejects Alec’s offer of financial assistance, as she recognizes it as a ploy to win her favor and force her to marry him. Overtime, however, the Durbeyfield’s need grows too strong for Tess to resist the financial security a coupling with Alec would provide for her and her family. It is a relationship born out of necessity, not out of love.