Hypocrisy in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

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Hypocrisy in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

Hypocrisy, often seen as one of the vilest manifestations of the human ego, is also one of the most inevitable and foreseeable. It is the simplest, and yet one of the most intricate aspects of being human. We all wish to judge and not be judged, for our own voice is always the strongest in our mind. Hypocrisy runs rampant in daily life; all one has to do is turn on the television set at our convenience to be forced to consider the meanings and implications of our own actions. Can we, in all seriousness, sing of peace on earth and goodwill towards men in the coming weeks while we continue to drop bombs and execute other military actions in the name of revenge? Should we trust politicians who want to sacrifice civil rights in order, they say, to preserve liberty? In his novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses hypocrisy to prove the moral of the story, honesty, through his characters, symbols, and ironies.

Arthur Dimmesdale is a man of contradictions. The populace of Boston looks upon him upon as a saint, and yet he hides a great sin in his heart. Dimmesdale is in a constant state of poor physical health and mental anguish because he knows he is guilty of adultery, yet he cannot admit to his transgression. He wears a self-inflicted scarlet letter comparable to Hester’s, and suffers, as does Hester; yet in his case he is the one ostracizing and torturing himself as opposed to Hester, who has become the town par...
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