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Guilt, Revenge And Sin In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

In The Scarlet Letter guilt, punishment, revenge, and sin are all very prominent. They show us just what can happen when you choose to carry unconfessed sin and guilt. Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale all experience these terrible consequences. In this novel you will see the consequences of sin while having to under go the feeling of guilt.
Sin is the main theme in this novel and it is portrayed through each of the main character’s lives. Hester Prynne, the female protagonist in this novel, is a strong, beautiful, lovable woman. Due to her sin of committing adultery, she has to openly wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest. She wears her scarlet letter “A” ashamed because she knows that she committed the sin merely
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Hester’s shame and guilt make her unable to express herself freely because she feels trapped by having to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her chest. "Hester Prynne might have repaid them all with a bitter and disdainful smile. But under the leaden infliction which it was her doom to endure, she felt at moments as if she must need to shriek." (Hawthorne 52-53). She wants revenge on everyone that has judged her for her sinful mistakes. Hester is slowly being isolated from the world and she can not express her anger or hatred for the townspeople. Hester is forced to act kind to others to avoid confrontations, which shows that she is afraid of the guilt and she is actually trying to hide from it. Guilt is still the consequence that causes Hester to become isolated from the world around her. Dimmesdale is guilty for committing adultery with Hester, his secret lover. His greatest fear is that the townspeople will find out about his sin. Dimmesdale does not confess his sin to the public because he believes that a reverend must act holy and can never sin. Therefore, he suffers through the guilt of his sin that he has to live with. He endures pain from Roger Chillingworth who tortures him. While Hester endured the public shame of the scarlet letter “A” on her chest, Dimmesdale goes through a much more painful experience. Dimmesdale’s guilt is an internal struggle and is much…show more content…
However, there is a larger consequence which she is reminded of everyday. Hester’s daughter Pearl is the ultimate consequence of her sin. Pearl is the walking image of Hester’s sin and guilt that she has to live with forever. Chillingworth was not satisfied until he completely destroyed his wife’s lover. He wanted revenge so bad and he could not think about anything else until he got what he was looking for. "A quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now...which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy." (Hawthorne 128) Dimmesdale feels extremely guilty so he punishes himself by going long periods of time without eating or sleeping. He also whips himself on the back causing cuts and bleeding. Dimmesdale is so overcome by his guilt and sin that he tries to hurt himself for everything he has done. "To the untrue man, the whole universe is false, it is impalpable, it shrinks to nothing within his grasp....The only truth that continued to give Mr. Dimmesdale a real existence on this earth was the anguish in his inmost soul." (Hawthorne 134)
Obviously guilt, sin, revenge, and punishment in the book all revolve around the scarlet letter and everything that the characters tried to overcome. We can clearly see the lasting effects of unconfessed sin and how it can change your life. That’s why you should think and pray before you do
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