Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter

Since the romantic era people have read and studied the lust and temptation to give into sin. No matter who has sinned , sin plays a great part in all of their downfalls . The three main characters in Hawthorne’s story “The Scarlet Letter”. The three main characters are: Dimmisdale, Chillingworth, and Hester Prynne. These three main character’s sin are no worse than each other’s. Whose sin was greater? Hawthorne believes chillingworth was not driven by anger at his own sin, but by the sin of Hester and Mr. Dimmisdale.

An example “as he spoke, e laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which forwith seemed to scortch into Hester’s breast, as if it had been red-hot. He noticed her involuntary gesture, and smiled” (4. 13). chillingworth wanted Hester and Dimmisdale to be as healthy as can be so they can feel their punishment and the Judgment of others as fully as possible. Another example is “Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee, in the eyes of men and women??”in the eyes of him thou didst call thy husband??”in the eyes of yonder child!

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And, that thou mayst live, take off this draught”. Sometimes there’s safety in numbers. Chillingworth can’t exactly confront her while she’s standing up on stage in front of “thousands” of townspeople??”not if he wants to carry out his insane revenge plan. He used deception and manipulation to make the life of another miserable. Another example “It was my folly! I have said it. But up to that epoch of my life, I had lived in vain. The world had been so cheerless! My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill and without a household fire.

I longed to kindle one! (4. 18). i almost feel sorry for poor, lonely Chillingworth except that he’s about to prove himself a psycho-stalker. Another is” These questions were solemnly propounded to Mr. Dimmisdale by the elder ministers of Boston and the deacons of his church, who, to use their own phrase, “dealt with him” on the sin of rejecting the aid which Providence so manifestly held out. He listened in silence, and finally promised to confer with the physician” (9. 7). Dimmisdale wants to let him die, but he’s not allowed to: it would be a sin to refuse

Chillingsworth’s help. Hester Prynne, however, was the complete opposite of Chillingworth in that her sin gave her life. She took her punishment and embraced it, using it to rebuild herself not as a pathetic sinner. At first, the town shunned her as a sinner. However, after they saw that she was good, and her sin was of love, the same town embraced and loved her. Her sin drew her more deeply into the society of Boston than she ever was before. And when her time to die came, she did so with honor. Hester Prynne – sinner and saint.

However, Hester’s sin was shared. Whereas she was sinner on the outside and a saint on the inside, ArthurDimmesdale is the reverse, both literally and fguratively. On the outside, a town minister, inside an adulterer. Of all the characters, Dimmisdale is the most pitiful. A man so penitent that he whips himself, but so afraid that he cannot confess his sin; a sin which takes a great toll on him. His countenance is disfgured in the shape of what we assume tube an A on his chest (that or a cow shaped birthmark) and his soul is eaten by his uilt.

Arthur does later confess, and weight is lifted from his being. And with that weight gone he finally dies in peace. Sin has always been and will always be a part of human life and literature. And as long as there is sin, people will react to it in different ways; some will hide it, some will embrace it, some will rot from it. But no matter how the sin is handled or dealt with, it will always leave its mark. Formed, the mark of sin will always be symbolized as a scarlet A on a black background.

from Nandarnold

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