Page 1 of 3

Redemption in "The Scarlet Letter"

Continues for 2 more pages »
Read full document

Redemption in "The Scarlet Letter"

Page 1 of 3
Redemption is the act of rescuing oneself as by payment of ransom or by complying with specific peremptory requests and demands. Traditional Puritan society began with the thoroughgoing conviction of sin. After Adam and Eve committed their sin of deception and adultery every man and woman after that was thought to be born with a darkened soul of a vile sinner. Puritans thought that the only way for all the corrupt sinners of the world to redeem themselves was by the grace of God. Prynne, according to the beliefs and values of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against the Puritan ways, by committing the unforgivable sin of adultery. For this irrevocably cruel sin, she must wear a symbol of shame and humiliation for the rest of her godforsaken life. The scarlet letter is an evaluation and study of the results of sin on the hearts, minds and souls of Hester, Pearl, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. In every case the effect changes the character significantly. Once the characters have indulged themselves in sin and transgression some of them are unable to deal with the consequences. Sin corrupts their souls, darkens their vision, and weakens their spirits defense against unwanted tainted temptation. Along with the harsh consequences of sin, also comes unexpected benefits. Each character is redeemed in some event or occurrence. Sin extends Hester's strength and capabilities to serve others.

Through out the novel Hester exhibits the strong ability to suppress the inferior attitudes and views the townspeople have of her and use them to her own advantage by proving she holds unique abilities. She nurses the sick back to health, brings food to the homes of the criple and poor and she is also an advocate for those who are in trouble. By wearing the scarlet letter Hester realizes that it does not diminish her worth but allows her to prove to others that she is "able" (p. 158). The townspeople begin to see Hester's true abilities and skills "Many people refused...