YMMV / Tess of the d'Urbervilles

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some scholars argue that Tess acquiesced to Alec, rather than being raped by him, in what is arguably a Not If They Enjoyed It Rationalisation on the part of those scholars. Of course YMMV, but this is not the most commonly accepted reading of the text by any means.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It becomes pretty clear that Tess is hopeless early on. Hence some readers stop caring early on.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Alec in the 2008 BBC version. He's way more sympathetic than in the book or the other films, complete with a clear Freudian Excuse (and lacking a creepy moustache, too).
  • It's All About Me: Particurly at Tess's confession, Angel spends time feeling sorry for himself for accidently choosing an impure woman as his wife rather than actually giving Tess the comfort she deserves.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Fans of the book were NOT pleased by the... er, unusual interpretation it got in Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • Narm: Modern readers often find the Deus Angst Machina plotline just a little bit too much to handle seriously.
  • Purity Sue: Simultaneously played straight and subverted. On one hand, by Victorian sensibilities, presenting a female rape victim as unfailingly pure was shocking - common thought would have been to view her as a slut who must have been 'asking for it'. On the other, Tess is deeply a victim of Victorian tragic literary convention, and considering that her only real character 'flaw' is her early naivete (which is presented as a part of her innocent charm), she definitely rings more than a little of this. Hell, even the title of the novel is Tess of the d'Urbervilles: a Pure Woman Faithfully Presented.
    • Considering that this was against Victorian convention, the title is probably intentionally chosen to underline the fact that Tess is an innocent victim and make it impossible to misunderstand the text of the book.
    • Tess is by no means perfect. She put off even trying to tell Angel what had happened to her until they were almost married. Also, she stabbed a guy to death.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Rape is not the victim's fault and they shouldn't be blamed for it.
  • The Woobie: Tess.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Angel, he suffers a severe fever in Brazil.
    • The Alec of the 2008 version seems to have shades of this.
  • Values Dissonance: Even if the work is Fair for Its Day, it sticks in the teeth of many readers.