Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - The Sins

Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - The Sins

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Analysis of Sins in The Scarlet Letter


The story begins with an unfortunate marriage between Hester and Roger Prynne, wich leads to adultery and revenge. The Scarlet Letter, is the title of Nathaniel Hawthorne's book. The book is mainly focused on Hester Prynne, her sin, and the people who got caught in the midst of it. Firstly and most importantly is Hester Prynne. As stated before, she was the main character, and the one who leads others to sin. She committed the sin of adultery, the sin that back in those days was punished with death. The only reason why they speared her life was because she did not want to name the father of the baby, and her baby "the elf-child" could not live alone without a mother or a father. Therefore, in order to still practice their authority, the magistracy decided to punish her by making her wear the scarlet letter "A"on her bosom, and to stand in the scaffold for three hours every day. "But in their great mercies and tenderness of heart they doomed mistress Prynne to stand only a space of three hours on the platform of the pillory, and then and thereafter, for the remainder of her natural life, to wear a mark of shame upon her bosom". ( P.42 )

On the other hand, we find Rev. Arthur Dimsdale, who was the father of the baby. It appears that he could not resist temptations of the flesh , even being a minister, he still fell into sin and adultery. Unlike Hester, Dimsdale did not have to pay consequences as far as to the outside world refers, due to the fact that Hester did not tell a soul that he was the father of the baby. Despite this, he still received his punishment, an internal punishment. "A well hidden secret , looking pure as a new fallen snow, while their heart is spoitted with inquity of wich they cannot rid themselves".(p. 88)

Finally, the last sinner was Roger Chilingworth, or Roger Prynne. Even though he did not commit a sin that deserved death in that time, his sin was worse than any other. Not only did he destroy Rev. Dimsdale's life, by torturing him with his analogies and indirect stories. He also destroyed his own life by making himself the one thing he hated the most, a fiend. "I have already told thee what I am , a fiend!".

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(ch 14)

In conclusion, there are many opinions on who is the worst sinner in this book. Some say that Hester is the worst sinner, because she ruined her life, Roger's and Dimsdale's, and even her own daughters by turning her into a little witch "the little baggage has witchcraft in her". Others say that Roger is the worst one because he tried to destroyed someone else's life. "We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. There is one worse than even the polluted priest that old mans revenge has been blacker than my sins .He has violated in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart, thou and I Hester never did so" (ch 17).And others say that even the little Pearl is the worst sinner , due to her anger and hatred towards the puritans. Despite all of these conclusions, I conclude with a thought that makes more sense to me. All sins are equal in God's eyes.
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