In... ... middle of paper ... ...nding the letter “A” onto his chest to lift the hardship slightly off of Hester. Emotionally, he goes from wanting to conceal his sins to revealing to this whole community about his flaws as to lift the burden and confess his sins in a dying effort to, in a sense, apologize to God. Guilt defines the relationships and personalities of the characters in The Scarlet Letter. The protagonists shape their lives around their immense feelings of guilt and shame or their aim to bestow blame upon others. The Puritan society in which Hester and Dimmesdale live tries to create ideal laws and moral values to control its inhabitants.
This statement puts a big question mark on the true lives of the Puritans. If we all have once committed a moral wrongdoing, why is this young woman so harshly punished for her sin? Hester Prynne was a young woman living in a Puritan community in the "New World." Her husband, Roger Chillingworth was said to be lost at sea, and Hester assumed his death. Upon this basis, young Hester committed a crime of adultery with her fellow Minister Arthur Dimmesdale.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses his novel, The Scarlet Letter to critique the Puritan faith. In developing his story of the adulteress Hester Prynne, he uses both religious and natural imagery to show his disdain for the Puritan religion. The Scarlet Letter is a vivid portrayal of his utter dislike for the Puritans and everything that they stand for. Hawthorne is in complete disagreement with them and makes it clear throughout the book. Though it is shown throughout The Scarlet Letter that Nathaniel Hawthorne is completely against the Puritan faith, his views, other than those shown in the book, happen to be quite similar as well.
An Essential fact to note is that The Scarlet Letter is a satire of the Puritan religion rather than a tragedy. Even though Dimmesdale acknowledges the fact that keeping his sin a secret devours his soul, he doesn’t reveal it until his death at the end of the novel. Dimmesdale’s reluctance to confess to adultery and stain his image represents his inability to overcome his sin. He is unable to elevate his mind above the norms of society unlike Hester. In the end of the novel the crowd perceiving Arthur Dimmesdale’s confession differently is a way Hawthorne relays the foolishness of Puritan society.
The Views of Hawthorne on Puritanism Nathaniel Hawthorne's knowledge of Puritanism and his close relationship with the religion has impacted his views on those in the society. Hawthorne is critical of the Puritans and he thinks that they are hypocrites for having rules and morals that they do not follow. He sees the underlying sin that others may not. Through his many writings he makes known to his readers that everyone is guilty of sin. The Puritan's main goal was to save themselves from the sin in the world, but Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays their morals and society as troublesome through his works, "Young Goodman Brown," "The Minister's Black Veil," and The Scarlet Letter.
Failure to respect God's standards often roots obscurity in recognizing one's own sins. For this reason, Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to maintain a dark and truthful view of mankind, his romantic historical fiction novel; The Scarlet Letter reveals both the author and man's common struggle to discern the difference between Civil and Natural Law, the means by which they deceive themselves, justify their actions, and seek redemption. Not to mention, the setting impacts the evolution of the plot dramatically as certain bold individuals take on the role of romantic heroes, fighting the Puritan Utopia in both a proper and improper manner. Consequently, a recurring theme is continually developed as transcendentalists view man as inherently good and Hawthorne exposes the reality of man’s wickedness. 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.
Hester is partially exposedalthough she reveals her sin for everyone to see through the scarlet letter and she allows the dark and serious mannerisms of Puritanical soc... ... middle of paper ... ...t-ridden victims of Puritanism could not look forward to the kind of transformation that Hester underwent and, instead, they were doomed to a lifetime of misery. Thus, through the brilliant and vivid use of colors from light to shade, from the startling to the colorless, Hawthorne builds his characters, explains their strengths and weaknesses, and shows how they react and live in a Puritan world full of dark intrigue, concealment, and hypocrisy. As characters change and evolve, so do the colors in which they are draped, yielding ultimately the lesson that brightness and openness in character will always triumph over the dark sordidness of repression and concealment.
The community’s expectations cause Dimmesdale to punish himself for his sin instead of confessing. He struggles for years to come to terms with his mistake, and in the end he is able to accept his true identity and confess his sin publicly. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne illustrates how the community’s influence over Dimmesdale prevents him from embracing his true identity, highlighting the negative effects the community can have on a person. Negative and restrictive diction are used to portray the detrimental aspects of the community’s strict laws, which prevent Dimmesdale from revealing his true identity to the public. The Puritans are described as, “…a people amongst whom religion and law [are] almost identical, and in whose character both [are] so thoroughly interfused, that the mildest and the severest acts of public discipline [are] alike made venerable and awful,” illustrating the high expectations of the community and the pressure their laws place on Dimmesdale (Hawthorne 47-48).
Public humiliation supposedly enforces people’s behaviors to change but does shame really influence people to change? Most people have their different opinions on public humiliation but either way Hester is a victim of this cruel well-known Puritan punishment. On the other hand, as a result of Reverend Dimmesdale withholding his sin, a hard-hitting sickness secretly hits the reverend. The scarlet letter located on Hester’s chest is a constant reminder of her wrong decision. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses the effects of sin in many ways, including public humiliation, Hester and the scarlet letter and Dimmesdale’s sickness.
Several of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story settings are during the time of the Puritans in the early settlement of America. In a couple of Hawthorne’s stories, his characters commit a sin so grave that, in the views of the Puritans, they are isolated from the community. This study will analyze one of Hawthorne’s short stories, “Young Goodman Brown” as well as his novel The Scarlet Letter to show the hypocrisy of the Puritan’s treatment of sin. In these stories, the Puritans treat sin with such severity that at times the treatment itself is worse than the actual sin; this shows how highly the Puritans viewed the necessity of punishment of sin. However, when it came to seeing the faults in people of high order in their community, they often ignored the issue or argued that their sin was for the good of the community; thus, revealing their hypocritical society.