Scarlet letter analysis

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pages: 5 (2226 words) Published: March 27, 2014
Sin and guilt are one of the main themes that are continuously mentioned in Nathaniel Hawthorn's book The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth experience the different forms and effects of sin and guilt. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are both mostly convicted for having the sin of adultery while Roger Chillingworth is most guilty of having the sin of revenge. Out of these 3 main characters Hester handles her sin through most effective way and used it to her advantage. Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, on the other hand, were not as “strong” as Hester when it came to dealing with their sins. Even though they were already well respected and effective figures in the society their sins caused them to slowly lose their self-control and their “well-respected” positions in the society. However it was the opposite for Hester, she, as a widowed woman, made the best use out of her sin, found a way to live with it, slowly became more and more popular in the society, and arguably had the best ending out of these three characters. Throughout the novel different forms of sin and guilt are handled in unique ways. Main character of our story is Hester Prynne. She is the center of attention, and sadly she is also the center of sin. Hester Prynne’s main sin is adultery which is what the whole book is pretty much about. Hester commits this sin with Dimmesdale but until the end of the book she is the only one that suffers from it. Her sin of adultery is shown in the quote “…in lieu of these shifting scenes, came back the rude market-place of the Puritan settlement, with all the townspeople assembled and levelling their stern regards at Hester Prynne,- yes, at herself,- who stood on the scaffold of the pillory an infant on her arm, and the letter A, in scarlet, fantastically embroidered with gold threat, upon her bosom.” (pg.41)The scarlet letter A was the symbol of adultery in Puritan society. When we read the quote we see that in the scene that is being told by the quote, Hester is standing on the scaffold with the letter A on her chest which means she was punished to wear the scarlet letter. Another thing that Hester is guilty for is Dimmesdale’s supreme anger at the end of the book. Hester is guilty for hiding the truth from Dimmesdale. The truth that Chillingworth was her husband. Dimmesdale let Chillingworth live with him for years and Hester knowing that those two lived together did not tell Dimmesdale the truth about Chillingworth. At the end when she finally told him, Dimmesdale was full of anger for a short period of because he could not stay angry at the love of her life for so long. Hester’s sin of hiding the truth is shown in the quote.. “’O Arthur’ cried she, ‘ forgive me!In all things else, I have striven to be true! Truth was the one virtue which I might have held fast, and did hold fast through all extremety; save when thy good,-thy life,- thy fame,- were put in question! Then I consented to a deception. But a lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side ! Dost thou not see what I would say ? That old man ! – the physician!- he whom they call Roger Chillingworth!- he was my husband!’’’ This is the scene where Hester finally confesses to Chillingworth. Hester takes the blame for not telling him the truth at the first place. She says she tried hard to tell the truth but then let herself to dishonesty. Hester is ashamed of her guilt and very sorry to hide the truth from Dimmesdale. When I read the scene, to me it seemed like Hester was yelling this whole quote; and I think that even though she was embarrassed to hide such a truth from her love, she was finally relieved. Besides these two sins Hester does not really have anything else to feel guilty for. Some might say Pearl might be her sin but I think that falls under the same category as adultery. Hester’s third guilt in my opinion is that she let herself down. “’I have thought of death,’ said she,- ‘have wished for...
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