Essay on Hypocrisy Of The Scarlet Letter

Essay on Hypocrisy Of The Scarlet Letter

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In The Scarlet Letter Hypocrisy is evident everywhere. The characters of Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and the very society that the characters lived in, were steeped in hypocrisy. Hawthorne was not subtle in his portrayal of the terrible sin of hypocrisy; he made sure it was easy to see the sin at work , at the same time however, parallels can be drawn between the characters of The Scarlet Letter and of today’s society.

The first character, Hester Prynne, is guilty of adultery and of hypocrisy. She supposedly loves Dimmesdale, yet she says nothing while for seven years Dimmesdale is slowly tortured. The love she felt that was so strong that it made her break sacred vows must have disappeared. Dimmesdale is continually tortured by his inner demons of guilt that gnaw at his soul, and Chillingworth makes sure these demons never go away. Hester allows this to happen. Physically and mentally the minister begins to weaken, slowly he becomes emaciated, and he punishes himself constantly. Only when Hester realizes that if Chillingworth is allowed to continue, that Dimmesdale will surely go insane if she does not reveal her secret. She did not reveal who her lover was on the scaffolding when she had the perfect opportunity to; furthermore, she did not tell her husband who her lover was. Hester can atone for her sin of adultery, but every day that she keeps the secret of her lover, and the true identity of Rodger Chillingworth a secret she is committing a sin. If Hester would have, “Take heed how thou deniest to him---who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself---the bitter, but wholesome, cup that is now presented to thy lips!”(Dimmesdale 47), things would have been infinitely better for everyone. Eve...


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... believe in a religion, and feel justified in killing or persecuting others. The infamous Bill Clinton fiasco was made into big issue because of fundamentalists in government. Newt Gingrich (a former prominent Republican) was much too busy thumping his Bible to even read it. He called for Clinton’s head, even thought Newt liked to philander too. This man was exactly like Arthur Dimmesdale in some respects. Both of them were guilty of a sin they themselves were condemning. Hypocrisy was present in Puritan society and it endures still even today.

Hypocrisy is the major theme in The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne’s work was meant to highlight the hypocrisy in Puritan society, and in the people that make up the society. The Scarlet Letter was meant to expose just how much of a sin hypocrisy is, and just how it causes so much pain and suffering.

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