The vile physician offers his ‘help’ to the sickly Reverend, but he gives the exact opposite. Chillingworth inflicts daily, mental tortures upon Arthur Dimmesdale for seven long years, and he enjoys it. Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are all connected by their sins and shame, but what they do in regards to those sins is what sets them apart from each other. When Hester Prynne becomes pregnant without her husband, she is severely punished by having to endure public humiliation and shame for her adulterous actions. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet “A”on her breast for the rest of her life.
The Scarlet Letter that Hester Prynne wears symbolizes the change in perception of sin through out the novel. Due to the revelations of the governor Winthrop and the reverend Dimmesdale, the way sin is perceived changes from one of shame to the idea that every one is a sinner in their own right. In the beginning of the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is standing on a scaffold, before puritan elders, being tried for adultery. The elders find her to be guilty and sentence her to the wearing of a scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life. The people of the town were angry and astonished that Hester, a fair young lady, had sinned.
From the moment she is born in the cold, heartless prison, Pearl is placed under scrutiny. The townspeople see her as a visible reminder of sin, and it isn't long until even her own mother searches for evil in her. The girl is described as "the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life! "(Hawthorne 103). With her fascination from an early age with the scarlet letter, Hester believes that Pearl's very reason for existence is to torment her mother.
When Chillingworth derived that the Reverend Dimmesdale was Hester's partner in shattering the purity of their marriage, he made it his duty to obtain revenge by torturing Dimmesdale: This unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analyzed and gloated over. The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne's bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her. (116) Hester could not escape her evil husband nor her liability in augmenting Authur's anguish. Secondly, Hester's adultery was the most prominent sin in the eyes of ... ... middle of paper ... ...er.
From the moment of her daughter’s birth, Hester felt the punishment of both God and the community of Boston. The magistrates spared her from the gallows, but in its place, she was required to wear a symbol of her crime at all times; this scarlet letter burnt constantly into her heart due to the harsh stares from the society and helped her to repent for her great sin. In addition to this daily degradation, she stood on the “platform of the pillory” and faced the stares of many townsfolk for hours (63). While the punishment of the public was immeasurable torture for her heart, Hester could not even find comfort in her baby daughter; Pearl, as the child was later named, cried in pai... ... middle of paper ... ...rtured by his hypocrisy (182). Only when he threw away all fear of punishment or shame and revealed his great offense before all the citizens, was he finally released of the agony.
When her child Pearl was born, Hester's adulterous sin was discovered and she was cast out from their society and required to wear an embroidered “A” on her bosom in punishment. Hester felt guilt for her sin the rest of her life and sought repentance and absolution until the time she died. Hester never had true love for Chillingworth, but was tricked into marriage. She later told him this while speaking in her jail cell saying to him, “... thou knowest that I was frank with thee, I felt no love, nor feigned any” (Hawthorne, page #). Hester was betrayed, tricked and allowed herself to become caught up in the evil desires of another.
Cursed with the permanent mark of adultery upon her bosom, Hester Prynne, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, faces many hardships and disgrace. Referencing these hardships, Hawthorne portrays the scarlet letter as the forbidden mark of adultery. Upon first meeting Hester, the scarlet letter is a symbol for adultery and disgrace. As the story progresses, the scarlet letter evolves into a symbol of wisdom and identity. Hawthorne utilizes each different meaning of the scarlet letter to make a commentary on the Puritan society.
Hester is the only one who gets punished for this horrendous act, because no one knows who the man is that Hester has this scandalous affair with. Hester’s sin is confessed, and she lives with two constant reminders of that sin: the scarlet letter itself, and Pearl, the child conceived with Dimmesdale. Her punishment is that she must stand upon a scaffold receiving public humiliation for several hours each day, wearing the scarlet letter “A” on her chest, represe... ... middle of paper ... ...he shows us her character, not by how she gives herself respect, but by the continued respect that she gives to others: even her tormenters. Her secret shame was kept inside, and it was an impossible burden to bear. She was brave.
Nathaniel Hawthorne¡¯s The Scarlet Letter revolves around the single theme of the unforgivable, adulterous sin which affects Hester Prynne, Pearl, and Roger Chillingworth to their very cores. First, because of this unforgivable sin, Hester was forced to live as the social outcast for the rest of her days. Hester makes her first public appearance clad in the scarlet letter when she first emerges out of the cold dark prison. It is described as ¡°so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom¡± (37). Hawthorne continues to say ¡°It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself¡± (37).
In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the opposition between the harmonious, peaceful nature and the sinful and corrupted society causes the character Hester Prynne to experience inner and external conflicts as she struggles in her life to get the Puritan society to accept her and her actions. Hester Prynne is directly affected by the consequences as she commits adultery with someone who was not her husband, breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Because of Hester crime, she is publicly shamed and forced to wear a badge of humiliation “A” for the rest of her natural life, as it says, “the SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.”(Nathaniel Hawthorne, 51) stating that she always had the “A” on to remind her and society what she committed. The Scarlet letter marks the beginning of a life full of guilt and isolation for Hester, is the burden that Hester always has to carry, and is what secludes her from everyone else because it represents her sin.