Hypocrisy in The Scarlet Letter
In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne suffers hardships in result of committing adultery. The townspeople punish Hester by having her wear a visible symbol of her sin: the letter A on all her garments (for adultery). In addition, she is made to stand on a platform for hours throughout a day, for the purpose of self-humiliation. Hester's sin impacts not only her own life, but also the life of the townspeople and her daughter Pearl. In this novel, hypocrisy reveals how people deal with guilt and sin. At first the townspeople seem to be the ones imagined as hypocrites. However, hypocrisy is also evident within Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale because they all say some things but do not hold true to their belief. Hester Prynne, a strong independent woman, admits to being with another man however does not believe that it was a sin. Hester does not believe that she committed adultery because she claims Chillingworth and her were never really married since they had never loved each other. Hester even tells Chillingworth, "
thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any" (Hawthorne, 74). This is hyprocritical of Hester because she says she did not commit a sin, but yet she wears the scarlet letter without a fight. In addition, Hester exclaims "What we did had a consecration of its own. We felt it so'" (192). Hester agrees with Chillingworth that she will not reveal his true identity, "I will keep thy secret, as I have his
" but she says she loves Dimmesdale (29). Therefore, Hester could possibly be accused responsible for Dimmesdale's pain caused by Chillingworth because if she really did love Chillingworth, she should have warned Dimmesdale about who Chillingworth really is to begin with. Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister with whom Hester Prynne committed adultery with, is looked upon as a sinless man, a "true priest, a true religionist" (120). Dimmesdale does...
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