Prince is the Durbeyfield family horse, and their principal means of livelihood. When Tess
accidentally causes his death, she feels guilty enough to go work for the d'Urbervilles, which begins the action of the story. Prince acts as a symbol of the d'Urberville family, in that he has a noble name but is reduced to menial labor to survive. His death is also a symbol of the theme of Nature versus modernity, as Prince the rural horse is gored to death by a modern mail cart. The death by stabbing and his blood spreading over Tess's white dress foreshadows Alec
's murder as well.