Hardy unfolds the idea that a woman pays through the constraints of Victorian moral values, male superiority and the influence of aristocracy. This is further illuminated by Du Mauriers Rebecca where male dominance and misogyny mean only the woman will pay. As a woman in the midst of an undeniably patriarchal society, Tess is unable to escape the social structure. Tess epitomizes the case that the innocent pay for the guilty. Similarly, Rebecca faces a fight against the pressure of the Victorian society to maintain a perfect marriage, but fails to succeed. Both women pay for the mistakes they have made as well as others mistakes and justice was done. .
Tess pays in many ways throughout the novel and often Tess misfortune is related to male superiority within the society. She is the embodiment of the tragic figure and when Hardy writes President of Immortals saw the protagonists life as a sport showing Tess life was always determined by an omnipresent force. The diction sport reflects the fleeting interest that these Gods had with Tess, and that her struggle was merely a pastime. Moreover, the contrast in significance between Gods and Tess demonstrates her vulnerability. It is clear that Tesss tragic journey was something she was doomed to receive; but the bildungsroman is written in such a way that the reader is left wondering whether the course of Tesss life would have changed had she not been treated so monstrously by the cruel, cruel men she met along the way. Alec, the archetypal seducer in Victorian melodrama, after his violation of Tess virginity, doesnt realise his sin. The fact he doesnt realise his sin shows how Hardy presents the idea of sin of males to females and how they differ under this society. Whats more he blames Tess for tempting him with her beauty and she, as a consequence, is paying for his tragic crime and is shunned from the Christian church for no longer being a pure woman and the social consensus does not punish Alec.