By Virginia Woolf
No matter what hour you woke there has been a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting the following, commencing there, making sure—a ghostly couple. Stooping, keeping their silver lamp above us, lengthy they appear and deeply. lengthy they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops a little bit. Wild beams of moonlight move either flooring and wall, and, assembly, stain the faces bent; the faces wondering; the faces that seek the sleepers and search their hidden pleasure.
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Additional resources for A Haunted House (Timeless Classics)
58). Arabella舗s insinuation, later proved false, that she is pregnant prompts Jude to marry her, even though as he acknowledges to her that he had 舠never dreamt six months ago, or even three, of marrying. It is a complete smashing up of my plans舡 (p. 58). Hardy denied that any exception could be taken to the 舠handling舡舒what we might understand as the representational choices he made舒of the tragic event. But the narrative voice describing the scene of marriage can hardly be said to be supportive of the marriage vows: 舠And so, standing before the aforesaid officiator, the two swore that at every other time of their lives till death took them, they would assuredly believe, feel, and desire precisely as they had believed, felt, and desired during the few preceding weeks.
And yet it would be a mistake to understand Jude舗s tragedy purely in the light of another person舗s falseness. A force far greater than Arabella舗s agency is at work here. The engine that draws Jude, seemingly willingly and yet somehow unwilled, from the darkened, empty parlor to the bed upstairs is sexual instinct. The tragedy of instinct, though here worked out through Jude, is certainly one of the elements of his narrative that Hardy perceived as having universal force. The title Jude the Obscure cuts to the heart of Aristotelian notions of tragedy, for Hardy舒perhaps for the first time in the history of the novel, although he is picking up on a question the poet William Wordsworth implies in his poem 舠Michael舡 (1800)舒asks whether ordinary people, under conditions of suffering, can have the nobility of tragedy.
The particulars of Jude Fawley舗s tragedy are the lifeblood of the novel舗s plot, though the potentially universal aspects of what an obscure person舗s tragedy might look like are worth exploring. We might understand the tragedy of the obscure man through three categories: the tragedy of consciousness, the tragedy of restlessness, and the tragedy of instinct. The tragedy of consciousness is particular to the person caught in obscure circumstances舒the tragedy that Hardy claims ensues when one has too rich a consciousness for one舗s surroundings, when one is more conscious, more aware, of what is happening to one than is necessary.