The poor peddler John Durbeyfield is stunned\u00a0to find out\u00a0that\u00a0he's\u00a0the descendent of an ancient noble family, the d\u2019Urbervilles. Meanwhile, Tess, his eldest daughter, joins\u00a0the opposite\u00a0village girls\u00a0within the\u00a0May Day dance, where Tess briefly exchanges glances with a young man. Mr. Durbeyfield and his wife\u00a0plan to\u00a0send Tess to the d\u2019Urberville mansion, where they hope Mrs. d\u2019Urberville will make Tess\u2019s fortune.\u00a0actually\u00a0, Mrs. d\u2019Urberville\u00a0is not any\u00a0reference to\u00a0Tess at all: her husband, the merchant Simon Stokes, simply changed his name to d\u2019Urberville after he retired. But Tess\u00a0doesn't\u00a0know this fact, and when the lascivious Alec d\u2019Urberville, Mrs. d\u2019Urberville\u2019s son, procures Tess\u00a0employment\u00a0tending fowls on the d\u2019Urberville estate, Tess has no choice but\u00a0to simply accept, since she blames herself for an accident involving the family\u2019s horse, its only means of income. Tess spends several months at this job, resisting Alec\u2019s attempts to seduce her. Finally, Alec takes advantage of her\u00a0within the\u00a0woods one night after\u00a0a good. Tess knows she\u00a0doesn't\u00a0love Alec. She returns home to her family\u00a0to offer\u00a0birth to Alec\u2019s child, whom she christens Sorrow. Sorrow dies soon after\u00a0he's\u00a0born, and Tess spends a miserable year\u00a0reception\u00a0before deciding\u00a0to hunt\u00a0work elsewhere. She finally accepts\u00a0employment\u00a0as a milkmaid at the Talbothays Dairy. At Talbothays, Tess enjoys a period of contentment and happiness. She befriends three of her fellow milkmaids\u2014Izz, Retty, and Marian\u2014and meets\u00a0a person\u00a0named Angel Clare, who\u00a0seems\u00a0to be\u00a0the person\u00a0from the May Day dance at\u00a0the start\u00a0of the novel. Tess and Angel slowly fall\u00a0crazy. They grow closer throughout Tess\u2019s time at Talbothays,\u00a0and she or he\u00a0eventually accepts his proposal of marriage. Still, she is troubled by pangs of conscience and feels she should tell Angel about her past. She writes him a confessional note and slips it under his door, but it slides under the carpet and Angel never sees it. After their wedding, Angel and Tess both confess indiscretions: Angel tells Tess about an affair he had with an older woman in London, and Tess tells Angel about her history with Alec. Tess forgives Angel, but Angel cannot forgive Tess. He gives her some money and boards a ship bound for Brazil, where he thinks he might establish a farm. He tells Tess he will\u00a0attempt to\u00a0accept her past but warns her\u00a0to not\u00a0attempt to\u00a0join him until he comes for her. Tess struggles. She\u00a0features a\u00a0difficult time finding work and is forced\u00a0to require\u00a0employment\u00a0at an unpleasant and unprosperous farm. She tries\u00a0to go to\u00a0Angel\u2019s family but overhears his brothers discussing Angel\u2019s poor marriage, so she leaves. She hears a wandering preacher speak and is stunned\u00a0to get\u00a0that\u00a0he's\u00a0Alec d\u2019Urberville, who has been converted to Christianity by Angel\u2019s father, the Reverend Clare. Alec and Tess are each shaken by their encounter, and Alec appallingly begs Tess never to tempt him again. Soon after, however, he again begs Tess to marry him, having turned his back on his -religious ways. Tess learns from her sister Liza-Lu that her mother is near death, and Tess is forced to return home\u00a0to require\u00a0care of her. Her mother recovers, but her father unexpectedly dies soon after. When the family is evicted from their home, Alec offers help. But Tess refuses\u00a0to simply accept, knowing he only wants to obligate her to him again. At last, Angel decides to forgive his wife. He leaves Brazil,\u00a0wanting to\u00a0find her. Instead, he finds her mother, who tells him Tess has gone to a village called Sandbourne. There, he finds Tess in\u00a0an upscale\u00a0boardinghouse called The Herons, where he tells her he has forgiven her and begs her\u00a0to require\u00a0him back. Tess tells him he has come too late. She was unable to resist and went back to Alec d\u2019Urberville. Angel leaves\u00a0during a\u00a0daze, and, heartbroken to\u00a0the purpose\u00a0of madness, Tess goes upstairs and stabs her lover to death. When the landlady finds Alec\u2019s body, she raises an alarm, but Tess has already fled\u00a0to seek out\u00a0Angel. Angel agrees\u00a0to assist\u00a0Tess, though he cannot quite believe that she has murdered Alec. They\u00a0hide\u00a0in an empty mansion for\u00a0a couple of\u00a0days, then travel farther.\u00a0once they\u00a0come to Stonehenge, Tess goes to sleep, but when morning breaks shortly thereafter,\u00a0an inquiry\u00a0party discovers them. Tess is arrested and sent to jail. Angel and Liza-Lu watch as a\u00a0pirate flag\u00a0is raised over the prison, signaling Tess\u2019s execution. Summary: Chapter I \u201cDon\u2019t\u00a0you actually\u00a0know, Durbeyfield,\u00a0that you simply\u00a0are the lineal representative of\u00a0the traditional\u00a0and knightly family of the d\u2019Urbervilles . . . ?\u201d (See Important Quotations Explained) On his way home to the village of Marlott, a middle-aged peddler named John Durbeyfield encounters an old parson who surprises him by addressing him as \u201cSir John.\u201d The old man, Parson Tringham, claims to be a student of history and says that he recently\u00a0found\u00a0a record indicating that Durbeyfield descends from a noble family, the d\u2019Urbervilles. Tringham says that Durbeyfield\u2019s noble roots come from\u00a0thus far\u00a0back in history that\u00a0they're\u00a0meaningless, but Durbeyfield becomes quite self-important following\u00a0the invention\u00a0and sends for a horse and carriage\u00a0to hold\u00a0him home. Summary: Chapter II At\u00a0an equivalent\u00a0moment, Durbeyfield\u2019s daughter Tess enjoys the May Day festivities with\u00a0the opposite\u00a0women from her village. Durbeyfield rides by\u00a0within the\u00a0carriage, and though Tess is embarrassed at the spectacle, she defends her father from the mockery of\u00a0the opposite\u00a0girls. The group goes to the\u00a0park\u00a0for dancing, where they meet three highborn brothers. Tess notices\u00a0one among\u00a0the brothers\u00a0especially, a young man named Angel Clare. While his two brothers want\u00a0to stay\u00a0traveling, Angel cannot pass up\u00a0the chance\u00a0to bop\u00a0with these women.\u00a0the women\u00a0ask him\u00a0to settle on\u00a0his partner, and he chooses\u00a0a woman\u00a0aside from\u00a0Tess. They dance for\u00a0a brief\u00a0time,\u00a0then\u00a0Angel leaves, realizing he must catch up\u00a0together with his\u00a0determined brothers. Upon leaving, Angel notices Tess and regrets his decision\u00a0to bop\u00a0with\u00a0somebody else. Summary: Chapter III When Tess returns home, she receives a twofold alarm from her mother, Joan, who tells her that her father comes from noble lineage and also that he has been diagnosed with\u00a0significant\u00a0heart disease. Mrs. Durbeyfield has consulted the Compleat Fortune-Teller, a large, old book, for guidance. A believer in such astrology, she keeps the book hidden\u00a0within the\u00a0outhouse out of an irrational fear of keeping it indoors. Mr. Durbeyfield\u00a0isn't\u00a0home, but is instead at Rolliver\u2019s, the local inn and drinking establishment, probably taking\u00a0the chance\u00a0to celebrate his newly discovered heritage. Tess\u00a0and therefore the\u00a0family\u00a0aren't\u00a0surprised\u00a0to listen to\u00a0of his whereabouts. Tess\u2019s mother goes to fetch her husband from the inn but\u00a0doesn't\u00a0return. The narrator explains that her failure to return may result from Mrs. Durbeyfield\u2019s enjoyment in sitting at Rolliver\u2019s\u00a0together with her\u00a0husband since\u00a0it's\u00a0time that\u00a0they will\u00a0share alone. Tess becomes worried and asks her\u00a0brother\u00a0Abraham\u00a0to travel\u00a0to Rolliver\u2019s and see\u00a0what's\u00a0taking their mother and father\u00a0goodbye\u00a0to return. Sometime later, when still\u00a0nobody\u00a0has returned home, Tess goes after them herself. Analysis: Chapters I\u2013III Tess of the d\u2019Urbervilles begins with\u00a0an upscale, lavish description of the landscape\u00a0that gives\u00a0the setting of the novel. This description helps establish the context and feel of the story\u00a0that's\u00a0to follow. The novel\u00a0is about\u00a0in Wessex,\u00a0a country\u00a0and historical\u00a0a part of\u00a0southwestern England that relies heavily on farming. This area, as we see it, has its own distinct customs, rituals, beliefs, and culture, and its inhabitants speak with\u00a0a clear\u00a0rural accent. Hardy became\u00a0documented\u00a0for the richly detailed description in his novels, which serves\u00a0a crucial\u00a0function: as Hardy documents and includes many realistic details to present\u00a0the world\u00a0more fully, he enables us to enter into the story ourselves\u00a0during a\u00a0more concrete and richly imagined way. We are introduced to the Durbeyfield family on the day\u00a0during which\u00a0the legend of their distant, defunct, yet still marvelous aristocratic heritage is revealed. When told of this legacy, Mr. Durbeyfield feels immediately liberated from his poverty and low social stature,\u00a0albeit\u00a0his situation\u00a0doesn't\u00a0change. Mr. Durbeyfield has already become enraptured\u00a0during a\u00a0dream that takes him from rags to riches. Similarly, we first meet Tess at\u00a0an occasion\u00a0that marks\u00a0a vacation\u00a0from her\u00a0lifestyle. At the May Day dance, all the young women dress in white, carry\u00a0Huntingdon willow\u00a0branches and white flowers, and dance with\u00a0one another. This local custom is, at its root, a symbolic ritual of purity and springtime. These women seem to enjoy the custom, perhaps because it allows them\u00a0the prospect\u00a0to play a symbolic function beyond their insignificant social roles. The arrival of the three young brothers excites\u00a0the ladies, heightening the specialness of the affair. When Angel stops\u00a0to bop\u00a0with\u00a0one among\u00a0them,\u00a0it's\u00a0as if\u00a0he's\u00a0a prince who has\u00a0are available\u00a0search of a princess,\u00a0albeit\u00a0just for\u00a0a dance. Most of\u00a0the ladies, including Tess, are anxious to be chosen, and somewhat jealous\u00a0once they\u00a0aren't. Acceptance from a handsome man from\u00a0a better\u00a0class\u00a0would mean\u00a0tons\u00a0to them. Like Mr. Durbeyfield, these young local women yearn\u00a0to flee\u00a0poverty\u00a0and therefore the\u00a0low social stature that their rural setting allots to them. Mrs. Durbeyfield\u2019s belief in superstitions and her trust in her fortune-telling book also demonstrates\u00a0a robust, perhaps irrational hope in what\u00a0the longer term\u00a0holds. She believes that something good\u00a0is supposed\u00a0to happen to her and her family\u00a0which\u00a0it's\u00a0only a matter\u00a0of your time\u00a0until it does. Through all\u00a0of those\u00a0characters and actions, we are introduced to the concept of fate, or a belief\u00a0during a\u00a0predetermined, unavoidable future. Ironically, Tess\u2019s parents\u2019 blind faith\u00a0within their ability to climb the social hierarchy leads them\u00a0to form\u00a0costly decisions later in the novel. The news about their ancestry seems to augur a hopeful change in their fortunes, but\u00a0it's\u00a0really just an instrument\u00a0within the\u00a0catastrophe that fate brings about.