Hypocrisy By Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter Essay

Hypocrisy By Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter Essay

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Hypocrisy is often seen as being one of the most vile displays of human nature. An unavoidable manifestation of the human being, hypocrisy has run rampant in daily life for the existence of humanity. The Scarlet Letter is essentially a story about hypocrisy and its consequences. Set in 1630 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Puritan lifestyle controls much of the society. Its people are expected to follow the strict religious ideals. If one was to break the rules, harsh punishments would ensue. When news spreads that one of their own, Hester Prynne, has committed the sin of adultery, they are quick to judge Hester for her sins. Ironically, these same women that are heckling and shouting death threats at Hester for her sins are known to the town as being the “goodwives”. The Puritans are quick to judge Hester for her sins without looking at themselves first. - -In addition to just the Puritans, a multitude of important characters are shown to portray hypocrisy in the novel. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows that hypocrisy is deadly.

- Hypocrisy can be attributed to the death of two of the novel 's most pivotal characters: Roger Chillingworth and Reverend Dimmesdale.- (not sure where to put this)

Dimmesdale becomes a hypocrite for disguising his sin and acting innocent when in reality he is as much at fault as Hester is. Unlike Hester, who eventually overcomes the boundaries set by the scarlet letter, Dimmesdale resorts to whipping himself to pay for his sins. The only reasonable remedy for his sins would have been to either step down from his ministerial position or confess his sin to the public. Instead, he attempts to cover up his sin and use Hester 's sin instead in his sermons. A faithful minister would not atte...


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...Chillingworth is being a hypocrite in this quote because he is taking comfort in his patient’s pain but at the same time claiming himself as being a good physician. Chillingworth’s hypocrisy essentially ruins him by deforming him mentally and physically. His sole purpose in life is to seek revenge on Dimmesdale. In the end, it is his obsession with getting revenge on Dimmesdale that kills him. Both characters are brought to death by their worst sin, hypocrisy.



Adultery was not the real sin in the Scarlet Letter, but rather it was just one of the overlying factors that lead the characters to be wrapped in a complicated situation involving hypocrisy, which was the real sin in the novel. Hypocrisy proved deadly in the cases of both Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. The tragic death of these two men was to portray the moral of the story, honesty, to the reader.









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