Hypocrisy And Sin In The Scarlet Letter

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne Pages: 3 (686 words) Published: January 12, 2016


In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the lives of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth to emphasize themes of hypocrisy and sin within the Puritan society by stressing the relevance of forgiveness, the negative outcome of abandoning righteousness, and the austere need for compassion in the Bostonian community .
Through Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth’s habitation among the Puritans, Hawthorne reveals to readers the need for clemency through the demonstration of themes about hypocrisy. First of all, Hawthorne begins by intricately constructing Hester’s character through the townspeople’s insincerity, accentuating the impact of pretentiousness in society. He writes through the eyes of the “ugliest as well as the most pitiless” of the...

Sachin Londhe, in his essay “Sin, Guilt, and Regeneration in The Scarlet Letter,” recognizes that the news of Hester’s sin spread wildly while Dimmesdale’s wrongdoings remain concealed. Arthur Dimmesdale does nothing to reveal his part in the adultery, choosing to maintain his physical position as a godly pastor even though he knows that he embodies nothing more than a cowardly spirit. His hesitance in seeking atonement demonstrates the Puritans’ pharisaic nature and mercilessness. Furthermore, Hawthorne describes Dimmesdale through Hester: “There was an air about this young minister—an apprehensive, a startled, a half-frightened look—as of a being who felt himself quite astray, and at a loss in the pathway of human existence” (Hawthorne 46). Despite experiencing unshakeable anxiety, he says nothing on trial of his unwholesome part in the adultery. Hawthorne shows readers the dishonesty of the Puritan lifestyle not only by hiding Dimmesdale’s sin, but also in the villagers’ stereotypical assumption of Dimmesdale’s innocence given his name as “pastor” or “man of God.” Ultimately, Hawthorne purposefully creates the deceitful Dimmesdale as a representative of duplicity in the Bostonian community, as well as to address the worth of kindness to...
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