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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter: Critical Analysis

A hero can be interpreted by many things. Many people would say a hero is strong, uptight, truthful or moral. That’s not to say they aren’t allowed to have some faults, but usually a hero is someone who instills reverence and veneration in others for whatever reason. Nathaniel Hawthorne creates interesting thoughts provoking characters in the Scarlet Letter, but none of which give the right distinction that would give them the title hero. The actions and qualities of the characters in the story give no view to morality, strength physically or mentally and most of what they do is to please their own volatile and selfish desires.

Those who believe themselves to be closer to divine powers are most definitively sinful and hypocritical. Therefore, moral superiority, as Hawthorne argues in this story of Puritanical condemnation using the three scaffold scenes is false. Society has its ways of showing vengeance and in return got nothing but guilt. Many people keep silent of the wrong things they have done and have to deal with guilt, but guilt is definitely not a desirable punishment. Arthur Dimmesdale did not show any lack of guilt when he sees of guilt when he sees Hester and Pearl mocked by the community any time they are out.

Dimmesdales guilt gradually got him to bad health physically and mentally. Hawthorne did not cease to ignore the immorality Dimmesdale to confess his sin and Guilt is what leads Dimmesdale to confess his sin and guilt to the whole town. In Hawthorne’s eyes guilt was what kept people from becoming immoral sinners. Without guilt or conscience people would tend to be out of line and impulsive. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne tried to expose hypocrisy by showing the Puritan life in a very discrete manner.

Hypocrisy is shown in every character in the book by showing character development to convey his thematic purpose. Hawthorne describes the Puritan society as plain and dark. This is clearly described in the beginning where the setting is introduced. The whole hypocrisy issue is basically their in every sentence Hawthorne has written. The only person to be free of hypocrisy was Chillingworth because the only thing he was looking for was a way to get back at Dimmesdale. Not only was Dimmesdale a hypocrite, he was a coward as well.

The only thing that encouraged him to speak up was Hesters nearly death threat. Being marked for life is a never-ending punishment. Hawthorne shows the reader a vivid way of how anyone can be marked for life by just being born in a contradistinctive household. Although The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850, the author effectively describes the environment and setting via the use of a chronically ordered plot and the accurate perception of the world around him. Pearl is used effectively as a symbol of sin and a representation of impurity in the public view at the time of the novel.

The novel is a social commentary in that it disagrees with the concept of impurity and prejudice of the time. The central themes are sin and the direct results of sin. The Scarlet Letter illustrates the consequences of Adultery and the chances for redemption through the development of the two main characters Hester and Dimmesdale. Hester is able to confront her sins and work towards redemption and is thus rewarded with coming to peace with her past. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, weighted with the guilt of what he has done slides deeper into despair without hope of recovery.

As a conclusion, sin is not the focus of this book, but how sin will weigh on the heart and how sin causes a person to act. Throughout the story, sin was portrayed in a lot of ways, starting the adultery and the letter A in the first place. Then, baby Pearl is born and she is such a hassle. Some even believe that she is possessed. Then you see what sin not only does to the Reverend (don’t remember his name? ) and how his health deteriorates, but you also watch as revenge takes over Chillingworth’s personality and makes him look just as sickly.

The underlying message of it all is that sin is an awful thing, but everyone does it. Hester was judged for committing adultery and the other major characters were punished for their sins slowly. But I think with this sin, came a sense of pride. Yes, Hester committed adultery, but she had the power in her to keep fighting and to embrace who she was, no matter what everyone else thought. In the end, sin claimed its victims, but only when they let it and that is the fate of Chillingworth and the Reverend, but not Hester who persevered and made a life for herself, past her sins.

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