Love and Hate as It Pertains to the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Love and Hate
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter, love and hate appear numerous times. Love appears as being good, hate is considered evil. Hawthorne shows that humans have the choice to choose between loving and hating another person. Through examples within the novel it is discerned that Hawthorne believes that humans are made to love and therefore, it is better to love than to hate one another.

Love and hate are strong emotions that can leave one dependent upon the other. Hester Prynne endures seven years of living as an outcast after her public humiliation as a result of her love for Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Like Hester, Roger Chillingworth is also dependent on Dimmesdale. For Chillingworth, it is not love that binds him to Dimmesdale but hate. The revenge in Chillingworth’s heart feeds off the constant tormenting of the minister’s soul. After Dimmesdale dies, Chillinworth dies soon after because his soul has nothing to consume. In this way hate and love are two emotions felt toward the same man, Dimmesdale. Hester who chooses to love Dimmesdale, has a longer and more prosperous life than Chillingworth, who chooses to hate.

Hate can be attributed to the evil within Chillingworth. Chillingworth hates Dimmesdale, the man who desecrated his marriage. Chillingworth’s love for Hester causes the hatred to rise between him and the minister. When Hester betrays Chillingworth, his heart is wounded and he seeks revenge against the man that slept with his wife. It is Chillingworth’s hatred that causes him to become evil and corrupted. The hatred causes these characteristic within Chillingworth because it is not natural for humans to hate.

Hawthorne says, “It is to the credit of human nature, that … it loves more readily than it hates.”(122) This readiness to love and reluctance to hate in the nature of mankind shows that humans are, more often than not, good natured. If a person does not constantly dwell on the misdeed that...
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