The Morality of the Scarlet Letter

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Allegory Pages: 2 (538 words) Published: December 11, 2005
The Morality behind the Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne has often been described as allegorical novel. With Hawthorne's use of details and symbolism a moral message is portrayed to the reader. The strong and well developed characters used in the novel also help to reinforce the universal truths of the story. Hawthorne's symbolism and characters combine in such a way that an interesting story and many important messages are developed within the plot. The Scarlet Letter ties together all of these elements to become an allegory and to fully express Nathaniel Hawthorn's personal moral principles.

The Scarlet Letter is a novel full of many imaginative and meaningful symbols. The most obvious and important one would be Hester Pryne's scarlet letter "A", which represents her sin of adultery. The letter though, was always perceived by the colony in a different way than it was by Hester. For Hester the letter was a consequence of her sin that she learned to live with, but to the people of the town it was a symbol of shame and made her the object of their judgment. Another symbol that is just as important would be Pearl, Hester's daughter. Pearl signifies to Hester the many sacrifices that have to be made in life to obtain a good thing, but to the town Pearl is nothing more than another sign of Hester's adultery.

Nathaniel Hawthorne formed certain characters that were able to portray certain messages and general truths. Hester Pryne, for example, was a woman who committed a sin and is now being publicly punished for it. Although, her sin was not committed with bad intentions she herself understands that it was still a sin. She is accepting of the consequences of her sin in the form of the scarlet letter and Pearl. Another example of a character who could reveal certain truths would be Reverend Dimmesdale. He accompanied Hester in the committing of their sin, but his sin went unacknowledged and unpunished. Dimmesdale lives his life with...
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