The next morning Arabella’s father, Mr. Donn, goes to work at his pork-shop and Arabella tells him that she has “a prize upstairs” – Jude. She says that they must keep Jude in the house for a while until they are married again. Arabella goes upstairs and wakes Jude, “her shorn Samson.” He gives her money to pay for his lodgings, and she returns bringing all his possessions.
Sue was worried that marriage might wound her delicate feelings, but Arabella uses marriage as a weapon to hunt down a husband. Hardy alludes to the portrait of Samson and Delilah at the inn on Jude and Arabella’s first date. Jude has truly been shorn of any power he had by now.
Jude is sick with a bad hangover. Arabella tells Donn that he must provide a steady flow of liquor for a while, and that she will pay him back. Arabella and Donn keep Jude drunk for a few days, and they have a continuous party with guests like Uncle Joe and Tinker Taylor.
Jude turns to alcoholism again in his despair, and Arabella is willing to take advantage of even this. Donn is just as greedy and amoral as his daughter.
Finally one early morning Arabella convinces Jude that he promised to marry her in his drunken state. Jude denies this, but Donn calls his honor into question and Jude is unwilling to sacrifice his honor, no matter what. Arabella, Jude, and Donn head off to the church, as Arabella has already prepared the wedding license.
Jude’s last weakness is his sense of honor – Arabella guilted him into marrying her the first time by pretending she was pregnant, and now she guilts him again by pretending he made a promise of marriage. Sue feared the wedding license, but Arabella gladly uses it as a tool.
Arabella returns victorious, and tells her guests that the parson found this marriage to be an amendment of past errors. The parson said that “the Church don’t recognize divorce in her dogma,” so now all was right with their relationship. Meanwhile Jude asks for more alcohol, laughing bitterly at the sacrifices he has made for his honor, and noting that he has done just as Sue requested in her new “true religion.”
Once again the church finds this return to a bad marriage to be a great virtue and forgiveness of past “sins.” Jude (and the reader, Hardy hopes) recognizes that these new marriages are abominations and forms of spiritual adultery.