He focuses on how Hester committed a “taint of [the] deepest sin in the most sacred quality of human life” and ultimately brings shame upon her for her sinful actions (Lawrence). By providing the reader with information about Hester, Lawrence makes the point of how grave her sin actually is. The use of his critical word choice successfully conveys his message because it highlights the faults in her character and her mortal sin. Lawrence does not despise the novel’s plot, but rather the way that Hester is portrayed. He goes on to mock and ridicule her by deeming her as “a demon.
The one who is the embodiment of evil creates hypocrisy of Puritanical views towards sin and evil. Hawthorne displays that those who expose sin to the public and the daylight are the most pure and those who conceal their sin under a dark shadow are destined to be defeated. Through his use of light and dark imagery and the contrast of his beliefs versus the beliefs of the Puritans, Hawthorne exposes the hypocritical beliefs of the Puritans by portraying Dimmesdale as destined for demise for concealing his sin, and ironically Hester the most pure for admitting her sin. The first description of Dimmesdale that Hawthorne presents to the reader is of Dimmesdale hiding his sin. One Puritan says, speaking of Hester's sin, "Reverend Master Dimmesdale, her godly pastor, takes it very grievously to heart that such a scandal have come upon his congregation" (38).
Throughout The Scarlet Letter a character experiences public humiliation. Nathanial Hawthorne uses Hester Prynne as an example of this. “To those who would condone Hester’s sin, on the grounds that she knew love, Hawthorne presents the painful reality of the evil that arises from breaking the laws of the society” (Stromberg 275). Stromberg states that that author makes a clear illustration of the consequences one has to embrace if he or she ever breaks the laws written for society. Throughout the book, Hawthorne mentions idea of the Black Man, symbolizing Satan.
However, Hawthorne's conflicting views of human nature are clearly evident as he both sympathizes and rebukes the transgressions of the Puritan society though each of four main characters. While venturing to portray an omniscient viewpoint, Hawthorne blurs the lines between relativity and reality regarding sin. Particularly, the author pities Hester Prynne's condition, but goes so far to rationalize and vindicate her sins. Hawthorne emphasizes his similarities to the marked mother, saying “That scarlet letter so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (Hawthorne 37).
Scarlet Letter For Every Action There is a Reaction: the Affects of Sin in The Scarlet Letter According to Webster¡¯s Collegiate Dictionary, sin is defined as an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible. The average person would agree that it is only in human nature to sin. Therefore the severity of such transgressions is diluted with that simple justification. However, the less frequently discussed and oftentimes the more important issue is the effects of a man or woman¡¯s sin. 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.
This is not to say that they denied the existence of supernatural evil” (Morgan). Their strict Puritan belief in the plain right and wrong clouded their senses, while resulting in the deaths of many innocent people. Unfortunately, their clouded vision is problematic since authority of Puritan society is raised on high pedestals and is seen as perfect examples for the rest of Salem. True catalysts of chaos in The Crucible are those cunning enough to break their moral ties to Puritanism to avoid the destructive punishments of a puritanical society. Abigail, “the prime mover of the Salem hysteria” (Martin), is a complex character who demonstrates her ability to manipulate beliefs and evade punishment for breaking the Puritan moral code; her role in The Crucible is a petri dish for lies and abundant fear.
I believe by liberally accentuating these forms of estrangement, Hawthorne intends to disclose the societal detriment of hypocritical Puritan ethics which in his perspective inherently result in the destruction of human souls. Hawthorne initiates his discussion of estrangement with protagonist and recently convicted adulteress, Hester Prynne. Hester exists within the most visible confines of isolation suffering extreme ignominy throughout the storyline as the Puritan system subjects her to damnation, and therefore seclusion from the customary lifestyle of a Boston townsperson. Hester lives as the symbol of iniquity, an outcast to the Puritan community, and ultimately as a soul abominable to God. Hawthorne devotes a significant portion of the novel fixated on the brashness of the Bostonian people and the negative connotations aimed toward Hester.
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.
Is it acceptable to neglect one’s crimes and move on, or is it better to openly confess yourself in front of your peers? In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, the main character, Arthur Dimmesdale, experiences both ends of the question. From initially disregarding the need to repent for his sin, his figure and character drastically change. By repenting in the wrong ways, Dimmesdale’s character continues to worsen until he finally publicly atones for his mistakes. Hawthorne’s views on the theme of repentance are embodied within the tragic and symbolic character of Dimmesdale, which he uses to demonstrate how repenting leads to a strong-willed and free being.
Sin is a central theme in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. As the novel revolves around Hester’s punishments for her sins, understanding the theme of sin is critical to understanding the story as a whole. Hawthorne uses dialogue between Pearl and Hester to suggest to the reader that sinning is natural to adults. Hester’s change brought on by her punishments demonstrate that the desire to sin is inescapable. Through a description of Dimmesdale’s suffering, Hawthorne shows that the people of boston are united by by the quality of having sinned.