The scarlet letter

Topics: Puritan, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pages: 3 (823 words) Published: September 22, 2013
The Scarlet Letter

The Puritan Society is an important part of American history, it outlines America’s brief moment of theocracy and extreme social order. The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, depicts Boston, Massachusetts during the time of puritanism and follows a young woman, Hester Prynne, through her trials and tribulations under her sin. The Scarlet Letter is repetitive of its time period through Dimmesdale’s state of religious anxiety and self-punishment, the glorification of punishment by puritans, and puritan fear of witchcraft and the devil. In The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale lives in a state of religious anxiety and punishes himself for his sin like many other puritans have done. Dimmesdale, the clergy man, knows of his sin of adultery and feels guilty for it. His guilt increases every day until he begins to punish himself for it. Pbs writes, “Puritans lived in a constant state of spiritual anxiety, searching for signs of God's favor or anger,” This describes how much puritans think about God every day. Similarly, Dimmesdale worries about his sin all the time. Hawthorne writes; In Mr. Dimmesdale’s secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge…he kept vigils, likewise, night after night, sometimes in utter darkness; sometimes with a glimmering lamp; and sometimes, viewing his own face in a looking glass…he this typified constant introspection where with he tortured, but could not purify, himself. (Hawthorne 111) Hawthorne describes the pain in which Dimmesdale puts himself through because of the sin he has committed. Like the time period, The Scarlet Letter, is repetitive by depicting Dimmesdale’s spiritual anxiety like many other puritans of that period had once exhibited.

Puritans upheld social order and obedience to God in the highest degree, so they created prisons in order to house...
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