Free Essay - The Theme of Courage in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Free Essay - The Theme of Courage in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Length: 562 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


The Theme of Courage in The Scarlet Letter

 

 

 

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, new ideas and themes are portrayed, giving a whole new meaning to the story. The trials and tribulations that each character faces, and overcome made the reading more enticing. However, the theme that stood out was one of courage; one must have the courage to be one's self. This theme touched each character in a different way, leaving each with a new perspective of life.

 

Throughout the novel, different aspects of chivalry were shown. These aspects were displayed through Hester Prynne and Rev. Dimmesdale, one having courage from the beginning to the end, the other only finding courage at the end. The boldness Hester possessed was one that a person only dreams of. It was in her nature to be courageous. ."..with the embroidered letter glimmering..." (141). Hester knew that her action was wrong, yet she felt the need to be herself. She figured that if she was to be punished by a permanent letter it was necessary to make it beautiful (like herself). Hester dealing with guilt and embarrassment had enough and ."..undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet letter..." (185). Knowing that Dimmesdale was going to confess pushed Hester to be herself again. This led her to find her fortitude once again and become herself.

 

Dimmesdale, however late it occurred, did in fact find courage. Hawthorne kept Dimmesdale "confused." Dimmesdale struggled to find an answer, tossing confession and secrecy back and forth. Dimmesdale ."..longed to speak out..." (132), and confess. Chillingworth knew that Dimmesdale did not have the valor to speak out. Taking this into consideration Dimmesdale pondered the situation and came upon a solution. "And there stood the minister, with his hand over his heart;" (141). This showed true courage, which was not expected of Dimmesdale. Ascending the scaffold and embracing his own punishment, Dimmesdale became himself taking consequences for his actions. Dimmesdale struggled to make peace with Pearl. He knew that all she wanted was attention, which could only be cured by confession. In doing so he took it upon himself to attempt forgiveness. ."..to admit him into the child's kindlier regards-bent forward, and impressed one on her brow.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essay - The Theme of Courage in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Jan 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=14719>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne of Salem, Massachusetts was a descendant of a distant line of Puritan ancestors; however, his antecedent family history was not one he was proud of, as he persisted to be bedeviled with guilt, most notably from the renown John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials. He, as a consequence, wrote The Scarlet Letter to articulate his message on the extreme and austere type of Puritan legalism, society’s outlook of an adultery child, the individual reconciliation of a sinful act in the Puritan society, and, all from the perspective of Hester Prynne....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
930 words (2.7 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- In the novel the Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main character Hester Prynne sinned by committing adultery which changes her identity while she wears the Scarlet Letter. “In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity” (Erik Erikson). The way the scarlet letter defines Hester as someone who sinned in her society. The way that her society reacted to her with the scarlet letter, made her question her identity of who she is with the scarlet letter....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1343 words (3.8 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- When the fate of the scarlet letter encompasses the beholder, it transforms their souls into the symbolic image of Yin VS. Yang. A common Chinese symbol that displays good vs. evil. As the essence of good (Yang) exists through charitable acts, and those who live life with an open heart. Whereas, the power, and the darker side of the light (Yin) comes through as being hidden from society, and relating symbols in life to the underworld. Two opposite sides of the spectrum clashing against one another to coincide....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1437 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- Pranav Damera Mr. Mackechnie English Period 6 9 May 2015 “A” in the Scarlet Letter According to Webster Dictionary, adultery is sex between a married person and someone who is not that person 's wife or husband. Even though this is still considered immoral nowadays, it is not dealt with as harshly by countries today as the Puritans. The scarlet letter “A” in the Scarlet Letter has many different meanings throughout the book. The “A” serves as a symbol throughout and helps show the suffering and strength of Hester Prynne as a character....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1618 words (4.6 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essays

- Throughout the course of history, the concept of women being subordinate to men has always existed. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a woman named Hester Prynne tries to break prejudicial notions against women in a patriarchal society. In the story, Hester commits the crime of adultery and is sentenced by the government to wear a scarlet letter as it symbolizes ignominy. Since she lives in Puritan New England, the people do not value women a lot, her actions becomes a sight of public scrutiny....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
2438 words (7 pages)

Essay on The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1855 words (5.3 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, adversity hinders Hester Prynne in her lust for prosperity. Hester struggles to accept her doomed fate brought on by the adultery she committed a few years back. Constantly reminded by the scarlet ‘A’ embroidered on her chest and her little Pearl, Hester struggles to break free and move on from her past. Society’s prevalent judgment, Hester’s strength, and her personal relationships keep her in the center of her sin in Massachusetts as she toils with her guilt and the secret of who father’s little Pearl....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
999 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Other F-Word: Feminism in The Scarlet Letter The concept of feminism is defined as “political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (Merriam-Webster). Contrary to prior belief, it is not raising women above men. This was a fear held by many men in the nineteenth century. Therefore, Hawthorne was restricted in how he made the characters of The Scarlet Letter powerful within the society by what society feared. Throughout the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to write a novel that is ahead of its time by showing feminist tendencies through Hester, however the constraints of his society and that of Puritan society force his writing to portray women in a negative light....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
990 words (2.8 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Near the great Atlantic, in the early Puritan settlement of Boston, heinous sins, those of adultery and hypocrisy, threaten the Puritans holy way of life. Secrets, lies, and deceptions cloud the air in this 17th century town, and once unraveled, lead three once pure hearts into destruction. A simple, scarlet letter “A” comes to represent the errors of these characters, and the corruption of their once unadulterated souls. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the theme that even well-meaning secrets and deceptions can lead to destruction....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1640 words (4.7 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- For many people, a sin of significant magnitude is a burden that may live with them for the rest of their lives. The effects of this sin can manifest in many ways, be it mentally, physically, or spiritually. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are all living with an enormous burden of sin, each reflecting their inner torture caused by this sin differently. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne conveys the effects of sin on each character through Hester’s ostracism from society, both physically and emotionally due to her sin of adultery, through Dimmesdale’s sickness and self- inflicted suffering due to his sin of hypocrisy, and through Chillingworth’s transformatio...   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1155 words (3.3 pages)

Related Searches

" (194). Dimmesdale proved that he did indeed have courage, and attempting to "win Pearl" showed how having courage can lead you to be yourself, even in difficult and unwanted situations.

 

Chillingworth did not possess the courage that Dimmesdale and Hester had. Chillingworth understood the situation he was facing and decided to become someone else "Thou wilt not reveal his name? Not the less he is mine" (70). Knowing the trouble he was in, he decided to become a new person, assuming a new identity and occupation. When Dimmesdale mounted the scaffold Chillingworth was dumbfounded and he ."..connected to the drama of guilt and sorrow..." (230). Chillingworth, not having the courage to be himself, knew that the ending was near. Having found revenge he eventually faded away unknown. Chillingworth proved to be a good example of a character that did not fit the theme.

 

In conclusion, the theme is emphasized throughout the novel, being discovered in different ways. Hawthorne dispersed the meaning one must have the courage to be one's self, intending for Hester to be true to herself, and Dimmesdale to find himself.

 
Return to 123HelpMe.com