Scarlet Letter Guilt Essay

analytical Essay
1824 words
1824 words

Guilt is powerful thing. A person’s whole life can be destroyed seconds after being exposed to the strength of guilt. Even though admitting a sin can seem more difficult than not, that confession can often make a world of difference in the long run. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne, and Reverend Dimmesdale, have two very different ways of dealing with guilt. These differences in action are what change the courses of their lives. The actions taken by one character are successful, though the actions of the other put his life in ruins. Hester confesses her sin in public, while Dimmesdale does not. This simple choice made causes a drastic change in each of their lives. When comparing the lives of Hester and Dimmesdale, …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Compares the lives of nathaniel hawthorne, hester prynne and reverend dimmesdale in the scarlet letter.
  • Analyzes how hawthorne compares hester and dimmesdale with their journeys through the shame-filled emotions.
  • Analyzes how dimmesdale doesn't admit his sin, which slowly ruins his life. he climbs the scaffold and invites hester and pearl to the stage with him.
  • Analyzes how hester and dimmesdale's guilt controls their actions and ability to make their own decisions.
  • Analyzes how hester is the complete opposite of dimmesdale. she is thrilled to finally be leaving this town, and feels no remorse or ounce of regret.
  • Analyzes how hester prynne and dimmesdale are two undeniably different human beings. the difference in hiding sin and turning to guilt shows how much it can take over a life.
  • Analyzes how hawthorne shows how guilt eats away at a person's life in great detail by comparing hester prynne and reverend dimmesdale.

Hester, although not happy for her act of wickedness, can come to terms with the fact that her life will never be the same. Although difficult to do this at the time, revealing her crime to the public allowed for her to live out the rest of her life with more happiness than she would have without committing a crime. Hester is described as having “a burning blush,” showing her embarrassment and guilt. But, as the story goes on, she is always said to have held her head high. The guilt, once spent, didn’t affect her physically. She now knows people will forever see her as the woman with the Scarlet Letter- but that understanding is what keeps the guilt from infecting her life. On the other hand, Dimmesdale doesn’t admit his sin, which slowly ruins his life. The closest Dimmesdale ever comes to admitting his sin, is in the middle of the night- only in the presence of Hester and Pearl. He climbs the scaffold, and upon seeing Hester and Pearl, invite them to the stage with him. He hold …show more content…

Hester faced the music, admitting her sin almost instantly in front of the whole town. On the other hand, Dimmesdale hides, wanting to conceal his biggest secret from everyone. This difference in hiding sin and turning to guilt shows how much it can take over a life and leave a person with nothing once released. This difference comes into the spotlight in the last chapters of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. As the book is coming to a close, Dimmesdale appears to be ready to finally take responsibility for his actions. After the Election Day Sermon, Dimmesdale approaches the stage, after gained the attention of the crowd, he announces that he is the father of Pearl, the result of adultery. Upon confession, Dimmesdale pulls back his shirt to reveal something on his chest. Doing this causes him to fall on the stage, and this ultimately lead to his death. “With a convulsive motion, he tore away the ministerial band from before his chest. It was revealed! … Then, down he sank upon the scaffold!” (250/4 - 251/1) By the time Dimmesdale was admitting his crime, the whole of his body was taken over by the secret. It was a part of his being, his soul. When he told the town of the adultery, it was like he was releasing a part of his soul. He let a huge part of himself escape, which caused his death. The guilt took him over, and

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