Isolation in The Scarlet Letter Essay

Isolation in The Scarlet Letter Essay

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Isolation in The Scarlet Letter


        In the New Testament it states that "the wages of sin is death." Though

the penalty of sin in The Scarlet Letter is not a termination of life, the evil

of isolation can be a physically, morally, and socially tortuous event in

Puritan society. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, in Hawthorne's The Scarlet

Letter, are both victims of the cruel isolation from Puritan society on the

basis of their sins. Hester wears her sin upon her breast where it stands as a

constant reminder of her malfeasance. Shame and isolation strip her of all

passion and femininity, leaving her a shell of her former self. Though Arthur's

mark of shame is not visible, it is all the more tortuous for its absence. Shame

and guilt feed upon Arthur's soul with slow malevolency. Only a combination of

death and confession finally release Arthur from his torture.


        Though Hester's ostracism from society and the tortuous nature of her

shame, Hester is stripped of all passion and humanity. Since society ...

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