25, Oct. 25
Corruption of the Heart
The Scarlet Letter, a novel based in Boston with Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale as the main characters, focuses on sin and its repercussions. Adultery and Hypocrisy are two such sins that are the main focus of the plot. Some think that adultery is the sin that the book is concerned with, but if that were so it would pervade through the entire novel on a less superficial level that it does. Hypocrisy, on the other hand, has a constant and repetitious under light in the entire novel that leads to the conclusion that the novel is not teaching about adultery, but hypocrisy with an underlying idea of adultery.
Apart from the characters of the novel, the text outs an emphasis on hypocrisy in the puritan settlement. Initially, Hawthorne describes the puritan town by saying how a necessity was to “allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as a site of a prison”(Hawthorne 35). The Bible teaches of forgiveness and repentance, but the puritan regularity of building the prison first contradicts their Holy Book. The town has little forgiveness for sins which directly denies The Bible’s teachings. Another instance of hypocrisy in the novel would be the “gossips” and their cruel comments to Hester saying “[Hester] has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die” (Hawthorne 49). The towns ladies disregard their religious beliefs for the punishment of Hester. They also judge her harshly, another sin. They live in a town that left the Old World for religious tolerance, but they forsake their own religion. The town of Boston has a strong magnetism towards ignoring their own religious text, leading to an extremely hypocri...
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...ws whilst playing the preacher role shows is cowardice and bigotry.
During the course of the novel, the point of hypocrisy as a sin is thoroughly proven to be the main point of the book. The reader realizes there is much hypocrisy in the town. It was in the town itself as the inability to forgive. It was in Chillingworth as self-denial, and Dimmesdale as deceit and corruption. It was also found in Hester as circumstantial love. The Scarlet Letter sought to reform a society in which hypocrisy was a way of life, thus the emphasis. This goal still holds true in today’s world. The general populace will lie about who they are, things they’ve done, and people they’ve influenced to look better themselves The take away is to not follow the tragic trend of bigotry corrupting millions today.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam Classics, 1850.
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