Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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Prince the Horse Symbol Analysis

Prince the Horse Symbol Icon
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.
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Prince the Horse Symbol Timeline in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

The timeline below shows where the symbol Prince the Horse appears in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
They hitch up Prince the horse, who is as old and rickety as their cart. Abraham is still half-asleep.... (full context)
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Nature and Modernity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...her and her family. She falls asleep. She is then awakened suddenly to find that Prince has been gored to death by the shaft of the swift and silent morning mail-cart.... (full context)
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Nature and Modernity Theme Icon
...has to go on and deliver the mail. Tess is left behind, and she watches Prince's blood congeal and feels extremely guilty for his death. She is ashamed that the day... (full context)
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...their cart and delivers the beehives, and that evening a wagon comes by to bring Prince's body back to Marlott. Tess returns to find her parents already know what happened. They... (full context)
Chapter 5
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...and proposes her plan to Tess. Tess protests at first, but feels so guilty about Prince's death that she agrees to see Mrs. d'Urberville. She warns her mother to not think... (full context)
Chapter 6
Injustice and Fate Theme Icon
Paganism and Christianity Theme Icon
After thinking again of Prince's death and being teased by her younger siblings, Tess finally agrees to go. She warns... (full context)
Chapter 8
Nature and Modernity Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...Vale and into the gray unknown. Alec drives recklessly and Tess is still wary since Prince's death, so she asks him to slow down. He responds by teasing her with stories... (full context)