Meanwhile Phillotson is thinking about how he has abandoned his earlier plans for Sue’s sake. One day he sets out to visit her at the Training School, but when he gets there he learns all the circumstances of her scandalous departure. Phillotson is shocked, and he goes into the cathedral. He notices Jude is there too, working, and Phillotson approaches him.
Phillotson now enters the story as a major character, and we see another point of view regarding the novel’s events. Phillotson, like Jude, has abandoned certain ambitions for the sake of love and marriage.
Phillotson asks Jude about Sue, and Jude assures him that nothing has happened between them, though he hints that he does love Sue. Phillotson believes Jude that Sue is innocent, and the two men part. Later that day Jude sees Sue, who is coming to fetch her belongings from the Training School.
Phillotson is a very ethical man, but in the situation Hardy creates he is just as harmful to Jude and Sue’s love as the purposefully antagonistic Arabella. It is fate and the injustice of society that are to blame more than any one person.
Sue acts coldly towards Jude, and he remarks that she is nicer in her letters than in person. Jude then confesses his own history to Sue, including his marriage to Arabella. Sue is upset at him for withholding this information, and she wonders how Jude can reconcile his religion and the supposed sanctity of marriage with his own life. They both grow miserable, trapped in their confused feelings.
Even though it is eternal in the sight of God and the law, Jude feels that his first marriage is a kind of adultery when compared to his pure love for Sue. Sue rightfully calls Jude out on the disparity between his life and the religion he professes – the strict Victorian Christian view of marriage is unrealistic for people like Jude and Sue.
Jude and Sue walk around town, and Jude says that Arabella is the only obstacle between them. Sue argues that her own lack love is another obstacle, and also the fact that they are cousins. Sue then mocks the people of the Training School, who can only perceive men and women as having relations based on “animal desire.” Jude tells Sue about the curse on their family regarding marriage, and Sue says she had heard the same thing. The two decide to act like friends and cousins, nothing more, and they part ways.
This parting dialogue condenses many of the novel’s themes. Jude and Sue discuss the unhappy fate of their family, the many obstacles society has placed between them and their pure fellowship, and the repression and condescension inherent in Victorian laws about sexuality and marriage.