Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - Impact of Sin

Free Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - Impact of Sin

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Impact of Sin in The Scarlet Letter


The Scarlet Letter is a story of characters that have to live and deal with the effects of sin in different ways. There are many themes to this story, the main one being you can't just ignore your sins and hold them inside of you. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale committed adultery, but when his mistress, Hester Prynne, became pregnant he remained quiet. Hester was punished for this sin in more than one way. She had to wear a scarlet letter A upon her chest which was nothing compared to the shunning by all of the town and constant sermons directed towards her. Although this is not that bad compared to the pain and torture Dimmesdale goes through.

He holds this huge secret inside of him, which does nothing but tear away at his heart and mind. This causes him to inflict pain upon himself constantly and to age and become feeble very quickly. "But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom, which almost invariably compels human beings to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given the colour to their lifetime; and, still the more irresistibly, the darker the tinge that saddens it." Chapter 5, Page 73. Not the sin itself caused this pain to Dimmesdale, but the fact that he could talk of it with no one and revealing it to the public would ruin him. In the end he is ruined one way or another. He could have came out right away and admitted his sin, in which would have made Hester's punishment less. They would have stood on the scaffold together in punishment for their sin.

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Instead he stayed quiet, stood from the ground and watched Hester stand on the scaffold with his baby in her hands right next to the scarlet letter that was there because of him.

This book shows some of the strong ways that holding deep secrets can hurt you. If he would have came out in the beginning and admitted his sin he would not have lived a life in pain.
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