In chapter LVIII Tess and Angel hide out for a few days and have their happy marriage. They try to escape, but Tess is found at Stonehenge and willing goes with the men who have come for her.
It’s now July in the City of Wintoncester, the capital of Wessex. Angel and Liza-Lu have gone to see that Tess is executed. They do not witness the execution, but they know when the clock strikes 8 and a few minutes later the black flag of justice is raised.
’Justice’ was done, and the President of the Immortals, in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with Tess. And the d’Urberville knights and dames slept on in their tombs unknowing. The two speechless gazers bent themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer, and remained thus a long time, absolutely motionless: the flag continued to wave silently. As soon as they had strength they arose, joined hands again, and went on.
This passage from Hardy emphasizes his point that Tess’ fate was predetermined – that the gods decided on her fate and had finished their game of messing with Tess. As sad as the idea that Tess had no choice in this is, Hardy did seem to give her the power to pursued Angel to take care of and marry Liza-Lu.
I’ll be back next week with some closing thoughts on the book. Until then, mourn for Tess.