Scarlet Letter Critical Lens

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Pages: 4 (1142 words) Published: December 7, 2014
Annika Czizik
Critical Lens
von Schiller 4B

Henry Ward Beecher was quite wise in saying that, “Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own”. In other words, in order to be great, you do not need to be powerful; you just need to know how to use your power appropriately. This quote is valid since strength accomplishes greatness when everyone benefits, rather than just an individual. This phenomenon is illustrated in the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding where the characters, in their own ways, seek to maintain order in the absence of adults as well as in the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne where individuality allows certain characters to break away from the rigid puritan society. In The Scarlet Letter, the author uses irony in order to demonstrate the problems in the puritan society as well as in Dimmesdale’s lecturing. In chapter 3, “She will not speak!” murmured Mr. Dimmesdale, who, leaning over the balcony, with his hand upon his heart, had awaited the result of his appeal,” this quote reveals how Dimmesdale’s words are used to fit in with the Puritan society since he too is telling Hester to give up the father’s name (Hawthorne 63). This scene is ironic since Arthur Dimmesdale is indeed the father, who does not want to endure the public humiliation, although he instructs Hester to do exactly the opposite of what he wants. Dimmesdale attempts to improve his social standing in the Puritan society through getting their attention and praise even though its a defective way to increase his greatness. On the other hand, Hester is respected in the society later on since she uses her innate strength to transform the meaning of her punishment and embrace her scarlet letter, therefore gaining...
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