Scarlet Letter: the Nature of Sin

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Shrewsbury 1
Austen Shrewsbury
Mrs. Tamara Kunkel
English III
February 1, 2011
The nature of sin is a questionable aspect to any society. A truly cruel hearted man that never acted on his evil intentions is considered commendable, yet when a genuinely acceptable person slips, and makes a bad decision they are considered condemned. This is the strange connotation that Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to dissect before our eyes in the book, The Scarlet Letter. “Thus she will be a walking sermon against sin...” (58) Says the greatest sinner of the book, Roger Chillingworth, a hypocritical statement is it not? The man, whose sin was blackest in his heart, was the one that people looked upon in reverence. Reverence for helping their young minister in his ailing health, the ailing health the Chillingworth took a sick twisted pleasure in. The reverence of the true sinner, the hidden sins of a holy man and the overt sins of a precise repenting woman. Their differences are all woven into the web that makes up the aspects shown behind closed doors of the citizens of Puritan Boston. Sin is truly in the eyes of the beholder, there is never a black and white.“... There was a look of pain in her face, which I would gladly have been spared the sight of. But still, methinks, it must needs be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, as this poor woman Hester is, than to cover it all up in his heart.” (118) This was said by Arthur Dimmesdale, the clergyman with the secret of a bastard child. He punishes himself daily for his sin, and takes no pleasure in the pain that the sin causes, his lover, Hester to feel. How can a man, who is that compassionate, be an evil sinner bound forever for his for his wrong doings? But with a wild look of wonder, joy, and horror! But what distinguished the physician's ecstasy from Satan's was the trait of wonder in it." This was written by the author himself, a wondrous comparison of Chillingworth's...
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