Symbolism Of Sin In Scarlet Letter
Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne / Pages: 4 (967 words) / Published: Mar 1st, 2017

Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “...if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many.” portraying his belief that sin lies within us all, and that each individual has a different way of showing this innate sin. In The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the crimes and faults of Hester Prynne, the infamous adulteress of the novel, who has been accused of bearing child with an unknown instigator. Throughout the novel we see the symbolic nature of this scarlet letter take many forms, as it plays a key role in the story development. More importantly, this illustrates the hidden sin within us all, and how we as humans choose to show our own ‘scarlet letter’. However, Hester did not commit her …show more content…
Chillingsworth failed to be there for Hester during their marriage, which leads him down a path of spite and revenge. Hawthorne symbolizes his unorthodox view of refusal by portraying Chillingworth as a distorted figure with an even more distorted soul whose “left shoulder a trifle higher than the right”. Chillingworth symbolizes the path less followed, due to physical deformities not being a common sight, which Hawthorne uses to portray that those who unleash it upon others usually are plagued with a distorted and twisted mind. As Chillingworth engages with Dimmesdale, Hawthorne refers to him as “The Leech” and describes how Chillingworth “dug into the poor clergyman’s heart” symbolizing the emotional damage this path illustrates(117). Hawthorne continues to display this unorthodox path by expressing Chillingworth as a ‘wild’ character, due to him being delivered by an Indian from the woods.Further symbolizing that Chillingworth came from an unfamiliar territory, consequently displaying Hawthorne’s view of an unfamiliar path as one of rare …show more content…
Hester has been burdened with the gravest punishment of them all, a living being of her sin, her daughter Pearl. Despite her burden, Hester shows the most courage of all her counterparts. When she stands on the scaffold at the beginning of the novel, she had “fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs” of those around her. Hester symbolizes what Hawthorne views as a the perfect response to sin. Hawthorne wishes for those who commit crime to endure their hardship and accept responsibility, which he shows through Hester’s strength throughout the novel. Hawthorne describes Hester Prynne, an adulteress, as a crime where "she had wandered, without rule or guidance, into a moral wilderness.” The townsmen punish this adulteress with a scarlet letter, which Hawthorne describes as “her passport into regions where other women dared not tread.” Hawthorne concludes that treading where others do not tread comes of great benefit, and how once one accepts responsibility, they can finally begin the journey to finding

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