Romanticism, Reason, and Puritanism in The Scarlet Letter
The novel, The Scarlet Letter, is about the struggle three people face while trying to live their lives and find happiness in a Puritan society. In the early 1640s, Hester has come to the small town of Boston, Massachusetts, from Great Britain, while her husband, Chillingworth, ties up all of the loose ends back in Great Britain. Hester and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the town's priest, engage in the act of adultery and produce a baby girl named Pearl; though, only Hester knows that Dimmesdale is the father. She has promised Dimmesdale not to reveal his identity. Hester is put on display in front of the entire town to punish her, and to also serve as an example in hopes that it will deter others from sinning. She is then put in jail with her young child for a few months and is forever made to wear a scarlet letter "A," which stands for "Adultery." Hester's husband, Roger Chillingworth, who had been captured by native American Indians on his way to New England and held in captivity for two years, escapes and enters the town of Boston. After learning of what Hester had done, Chillingworth poses as a doctor and vows to discover the identity of Hester's partner in sin. Hester agrees to keep his true identity a secret, too.
Each character in the novel represents one or more philosophies including Romanticism, Reason, and Puritanism that one could adhere to in life. Romanticism focuses on the individual and preaches finding truth, Reason, involves the belief that one can use logic to solve anything and a perfect society will create perfect men, and Puritanism, where all t...
... middle of paper ...
...d the sinful act of adultery with his wife. His logic and reason guide him to his answer but his drive to know eventually weakens and kills him. Reverend Dimmesdale strayed from his Puritan beliefs when he committed adultery. His struggle is not with Reason or Romanticism but with his steadfast adherence to the Puritan beliefs. Dimmesdale does not find reason within himself for his relationship with Hester nor does he reveal the truth about his sinful relationship until he realizes he is dying. Nevertheless, this last attempt to clear his conscience results in his death.
True happiness escapes all three characters except one and that is Hester. Hester blended the philosophies of Reason, Romanticism, and Puritanism and was able to live life comfortably. Philosophies, a person can't have just one.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family background greatly influences the themes and central conflicts within many of his works. Growing up, Hawthorne learned of his ancestors’ lifestyle and their devotion to the Puritan religion. The constricting and harsh values of the religion troubled Hawthorne, and his guilt for his ancestors’ way of life translates into his literature. Hawthorne’s use of the theme of religious hypocrisy impacts the characterization and in turn the plot of many of his works, including The Scarlet Letter, The Minister’s Black Veil, and Young Goodman Brown.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Puritan]
950 words (2.7 pages)
- In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne critiques Puritan ideology. Hawthorne believes in some parts of Puritan doctrine because he thinks that the God is philanthropy. Everyone has opportunity to redeem from the sin. However, he criticizes for the harsh and brutal laws of puritanism. Fear makes Puritan push aside Hester. Puritan is afraid that if they do not punish this immoral behavior in the Puritanism society, their core of society which is moral ideology will collapse Hawthorne thinks that the traditional Puritan ideology ruins the natural humanity and human right.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1465 words (4.2 pages)
- There is no doubt that Puritan ideology is engrained in contemporary American society despite years of opposition, after all it is the reason why America is the money making powerhouse it is. In his novel A Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the complications that arise from Puritan principles. Specifically, he discusses how to conflicts with true human nature. He does this through his exploration of how “light” and “darkness” affected the psyche of puritans. The result of this exploration is a transcendentalist classic.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- Change in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter In life, one may see that there are not many guarantees. However, the closest one may come to a guarantee is that almost anything in life can change. I believe that change can come in many forms.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne Scarlet Letter]
1566 words (4.5 pages)
- The main idea of The Scarlett Letter is “sin and its impacts” on both individual and society which is demonstrated through its characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth. This main idea hailed from the author’s deep rooted puritanism. Hawthorne illustrated different levels of his main idea through his three characters. Each of the main characters are guilty of one kind of sin such as sin of adultery (Hester Prynne), sin of hypocrisy (Arthur Dimmesdale) and sin of vengeance (Roger Chillingworth).... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1459 words (4.2 pages)
- Discuss Hawthorne’s use of symbolism and its significance to the theme of the novel The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter a tale of sin and redemption was set in the seventeenth century in the New World Boston, Massachusetts. From this, Hawthorne was able to effectively illustrate the effects of Puritanism that was found there through his characters throughout the novel. This essay will be to show how Hawthorne’s characters are affected by religion through the use of symbolism as well as its implication to the theme of the novel.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1549 words (4.4 pages)
- Chillingworth as Hero of The Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter is a story about human reaction to circumstances and the justification behind these actions. Each of the central characters in the novel represents a side of an extremely serious situation, adultery. Each of the characters has a certain amount of justification behind their actions and each searches for a way to rise out of his/her condition. Roger Chillingworth himself represents revenge. Some even believe him to be representative of evil or Satan.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1103 words (3.2 pages)
- In today's society, it is infrequent that you turn on the television and are not bombarded with images of sex, violence, or other content that the Puritans would have viewed as being the work of Old Deluder (the name given to Satan in the time period). Yes, it is true; the society in which we dwell in today is no more remarkable than that of barbaric times. The only difference might be that we no longer kill out of primal instinct; we do it out of fear, or malice, or patriotism, or even pleasure.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1368 words (3.9 pages)
- Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is generally considered to be the first American symbolic novel. A symbol is something which is used to represent something broader in meaning. The most obvious symbol in the novel is the actual scarlet "A" which both the criticism and I agree upon. This "A" is the literal symbol of the sin of adultery. The letter A then appears in many different forms throughout the novel. The gold-embroidered A on Hester Prynne's fascinates Pearl Prynne.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
942 words (2.7 pages)
- Scarlet Letter Outcasts The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was a book of many meanings. The novel paralleled to Hawthorne’s life, particularly his childhood. He used The Scarlet Letter as a physiological vent. Hawthorne’s life is greatly reflected throughout the novel. Hawthorne left traces of his home town’s atmosphere, his psychological well-being, his family life and his habits. Hawthorne lived a life of guilt in the puritan ages as did his main character, Hester Prynne. He was also against the puritan government for a portion of his life, as are the two lovers, Dimmesdale and Hester.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1036 words (3 pages)