In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorn makes a commentary on the hypocrisy in the Puritan life style through his portrayal of his characters Arthur Dimmesdale, the town’s adored Puritan priest, and Hester Prynne, the ostracized sinner. Throughout the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorn depicts traits that contradict the Puritan’s ideas of how a defiled sinner and a proper Puritan priest should behave by the social conventions of their time. The author does this by illustrating Dimmesdale, who is supposed to be a righteous and holy person, as a sinful and cowardly man. Dimmesdale is also show to be a naive individual who is oblivious to the ever present danger that surrounds him. He is a complete contradiction to commonly held image of the honorable and holy priest. And the character who is portrayed as a righteous and selfless helper is the adulteress Hester Prynne, the woman whom the Puritan people detest for her sin. Hester is also shown to be a confident and strong character, a complete opposite to her counterpart, Arthur Dimmesdale.
Throughout history, priest have been seen as righteous and wise men who should be reverenced and respected for their moral lifestyles. However, Nathaniel Hawthorn does not depict Arthur Dimmesdale in the sort of holy light. Instead, she chooses to point out his countless flaws that plague his priestly character. The greatest example of this being that he too is marked with the sin of adultery. This is an apparent hole in his priestly character, showing that he too is a sinner, and that no person is above sinful acts, even the beloved Puritan priest that at the time was believed to be above the vile act of sin. But this is not the only blemish on his character,...
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...r to lessen his pride and stand on the platform with Hester Prynne and Pearl. In the novel, it was the sinner who to lived the moralistic and altruistic life, not the holy Puritan priest.
Through comparing the characteristic of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, Nathaniel Hawthorn was able to make a compelling commentary on the hypocrisy of the Puritan beliefs. By depicting the priest as a sinner and the sinner as a saint, the author was able to show the falsities of the Puritan doctrine. Which declared that sinners were reviled souls who were not suitable for society and should be segregated from the rest of the supposedly pure population, along with the idea that those in the priesthood had transcended sin and should be revered as saints. This novel instead chose to illustrate the real human natures of the ostracized sinner and beloved priest.
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