The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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William Shakespeare once said, “One touch of nature, makes the whole world kin.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter, the Forest is a place of societal freedom while as the Town serves as a place of judgement and false virtue. Some might say that the Scaffold would prove to be a suitable contrast to the Forest, however, the Town provides a more direct contrast to the Forest; truth is welcomed in the natural Forest and punished in the unnatural Town. That opinion is evident throughout the novel as the different themes of secrets destroying their keeper, nature being more forgiving than man, and the hypocrisy of the Puritan society clearly exemplify it. Throughout the novel, the foundation has been based upon two main points, humility and the impact of secrets on an individual character. The latter of the two is a major theme in the book as events show how easily secrets can destroy a person from the inside out. The first example is an event towards the end of the novel when Dimmesdale finally speaks his heart upon the Scaffold crying out, “By bringing me hither, to die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people! Had either of these agonies been wanting, I had been lost forever!” (Hawthorne, 252). As Dimmesdale cries out his final remarks before his death he speaks of the secret he has held for seven years as if it was a monster that had been slowly devouring him. The immense pressure that a secret of that magnitude held ended up destroying Dimmesdale 's life in a painful and slow manner as the Town’s culture that created that pressure saw Dimmesdale take his last breath. The next example is one that takes place in the Forest as Dimmesdale walks back to the town and sits underneath a tree. Dimmesdale has an overwhe... ... middle of paper ... ...gal witchcraft that the sister of the Governor practices. It is obvious to see the stark contrasts between the hypocritical attitude of the Town, and the forgiving inclination of the Forest in the novel, The Scarlet Letter. The multitude of events that support the themes of secrets destroying their keeper, nature being more forgiving than man, and the hypocrisy of the Puritan society all lead to the conclusion that the most correct contrast within Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter, would be between the Forest and the Town. As Herman Melville put it, “There is no quality in this world that is not what is it merely by contrast. Nothing exists by itself.” The contrasts between the two are never-ending and that contrast seems to play an incredibly important role in portraying the meaning of the story as without one or the other, the contrast would be non existent.
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