n late 19th-century England, Jude aspires to be an academic, but is hobbled by his blue-collar background. Instead, he works as a stonemason and is trapped in an unloving marriage to a farmer's daughter named Arabella. But when his wife leaves him, Jude sees an opportunity to improve himself. He moves to the city and begins an affair with his married cousin, Sue, courting tragedy every step of the way.

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