Hester Prynne “[makes] a pride out of what they, worthy gentlemen, meant as punishment” in her beautiful illustration of her sin upon her chest (Hawthorne 51). She wishes to express her sin overtly, for she accepts it although does not agree with Puritan institution. Again, the fact that Hester dwells in Boston when nothing holds her there is solid proof of her acceptance of her sin. When Hester could “simply hide her character and identity under a new exterior” she gains great respect from many townsfolk for staying despite her abjectness. (Hawthorne 73).
Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, seeks obsessive wrath and revenge towards Dimmesdale and commits his entire life to ruining Dimmesdale’s life. Hawthorne shows through Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth that sin must be confessed for anyone to have the peace that is found in redemption. Hester Prynne does not have a choice in how to deal with her sin. The townspeople put her on the scaffold to make an example out of her, but they did not make Hester confess. When she came out of the prison she looked beautiful and brave sporting the A that would become a part of her.
However, as time goes on, the public humiliation of her sin weighs heavily upon her soul. “An accustomed eye had likewise it’s own aguish to inflict. It’s cool stare of familiarity was intolerable. From first to last, in short, Hester Prynne had always th... ... middle of paper ... ...ld. Chillingworth becomes so evil and cruel in his treatment of Arthur that it would have been better for the Reverend to die.
He has a fear of public opinion and thinks everybody should think good of him, which contributes to his death. His decision to accept death rather than betray his friends and family allows him to recover the sense of goodness he lost when he committed adultery with Abigail and to serve his community. His fear of public opinion compelled him to withhold his adultery from court. He is outspoken and blunt in his disbelief of witchcraft, he initially chose to downplay the significance of Abigail’s accusations. This allows him to look rational but can also be seen like he is not making an effort to take the necessary action.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates the effects of the conscience, showing the differences of one whose guilt is secret and one whose is exposed. Hester Prynne could never have hidden her crime, since the resulting child was a constant reminder of it. She spent time in jail for what she had done, and was stood on a platform in front of the whole town to shame her and to show the public what the penalty was for such an act. According to the novel, the appropriate punishment in that period was public execution; instead, Hester was forced to wear the scarlet letter on her chest forever more. Through it all, she refused to give up the name of the man equally responsible for the crime.
For her mother, Hester, Pearl is parallel to the scarlet letter in that they both begin as punishments before becoming saviors. To the main men of the novel, little Pearl becomes a symbol of their failure to be accountable and responsible for their own actions or lack thereof. Moreover, to the town of Salem as a whole, Pearl serves to illustrate the inappropriate severity of the people’s harsh judgments as they criticize her needlessly. The smaller Ms. Prynne is a symbol to all who surround her, serving raise them up, or to display their failures. Little Pearl represents the worst thing that has ever befallen her mother, yet she turns out to watch Hester redeem.
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is convicted of adultery and sentenced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her chest as a lasting reminder of her crime. She is forbidden to take off this token of disgrace, and does as the court says until chapter 13. Hester is rejected by almost everyone in the town when they find out she carrying the child of man who is not her husband. She heroically bears her punishment, continues to live there and stands firm on what she believes. The townspeople are very coarse in the way they treat her and their judgement of Hester.
Not only do the older people of the community look down upon Hester and Pearl, so do the children. They have learned from their parents that Hester is a bad woman and that her daughter has also was the same as her. This is extremely painful and very difficult for her to handle but she is a strong woman who will not other people sway her beliefs and morals. She decides to remain in Boston because it is the town where she committed her so called “sin” and if she faces each day with the guilt she had, then
She knows that she will forever live in i... ... middle of paper ... ...awthorne 174) When Pearl is in public, she is constantly being made fun of and discriminated against by the townspeople and children. This shows that even though she didn’t do anything wrong, she is still punished for being an outcome of sin. When Pearl is dressed as the Scarlet Letter when she goes to the Governor's house is an obvious example that she is a direct correlation of her mom’s wrongdoing, showing that she truly is Hester’s sin. All of these characters show sin in their own way-concealed, revealed, and an outcome. There are many characters in the novel that all represent sin, but each in a different way.
In conclusion one finds that the exposed sin of Hester caused extreme social isolation, where only time and effort can get her assimilated back into society. The hidden sin in Roger Chillingworth’s life caused him to go mad, and become satanic. Arthur Dimmesdale’s hidden sin ended up killing him. When analyzing the novel one finds a vast difference between exposed sin, and hidden sin. This difference is evident in the fate of these three characters.