The Puritan Community in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Puritan Community in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorn takes place in Boston of 1640 of Puritan community. It shows a dark, gray, violently moral society found as a kind of Puritan Utopia. The main characters in the story are Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. This novel illustrates the effects of sin on the heart and minds, how a person's downfall may be caused by the destructive human emotions of hidden guilt and revenge. In The Scarlet Letter, hidden sin destroys Dimmesdale, obsession of revenge causes downfall of Chillingworth, and exposed guilt and sin turns Hester into stronger woman than she was before. Arthur Dimmesdale faces the destruction by having hidden sin, which annihilates him day by day till his death. At first, Dimmesdale refuses to admit his crime of adultery; he gives moving speech to town people about how it could be best for her to reveal the father's name, though he implies the father in third person when it's himself. He said "if thou feelest it to be for thy soul's peace, and that thy earthly punishment will there by be made more effectual to salvation, I charged thee to speak out the name of thy fellow -- sinners and fellow -- suffer." (73), when she stands on a scaffold as part of her punishment. However, as the time passes by, he becomes his own worst enemy. Dimmesdale believes that he will never be seen the same in the eyes of God and that no amount of repentance can ever return him to God's good grace. For that reason, when Hester says his good deed will count for something in God's view, he exclaims, "There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead and can do nothing for me!" (202) Dimmesdale is fa... ... middle of paper ... ... crime of adultery and opening her sin to the public helped her to grow into a much stronger and beautiful woman. In The Scarlet Letter, author clearly states the lesson as "Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait were by the worst may be inferred!" (Forward, 9) Hawthorn gives good examples to support his main idea. First, by not admitting the crime, Dimmesdale suffers from hidden guilt until the day of his death. Second, being obsessed to seek revenge on Dimmesdale turns Chillingworth into a fiend, which also ruined him. Third, unlike Dimmesdale or Chillingworth, Hester faces her challenge of opening her sin to the public, which helped her to grow more, and into a well-respected woman. Those examples indicates that being true to world will do goods, but carrying hidden sin will eventually destroy him or herself.

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