In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, he explores the prodigy of love, crime, and revenge. It revolves around a sinful act of passion that impacts Hester Prynne, an adulteress forced to wear a scarlet letter “A”on her bosom; Reverend Dimmesdale, a respected minister in the puritans community; their daughter, Pearl; and Roger Chillingworth, Hester 's husband. Most of the characters portrayed can be analyzed as embodying both “good” and “evil” qualities. Dimmesdale is especially viewed as an ambiguous character. Dimmesdale’s moral ambiguity comes from his internal conflict between his devotion to the church and the guilt he feels for not receiving blame for his sinful act of co-adultery with Hester. Classifying him as an “evil”
Thesis: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” can be seen as criticism of the beliefs of puritans and how symbolism is used to show Hester’s sin and how she is defined.
“Beauty is the mark God sets upon virtue.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature. A woman, in the eyes of the Puritans, due to her unvirtuous act, was given an unbeautiful gift. They believe she was given a demon child for her sin. Living in a strict Puritan town in the 1800’s, Hester Prynne, a transcendentalist, is forced to wear a scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life as punishment for her sin of adultery. Because Hester is a Puritan, she understands that she participated in a horrible sin and can never be forgiven. She wears the letter without resisting because she knows she needs the punishment. She conforms to the Puritan ways but only because she grew up Puritan. Because it is the only belief she knows, it is hard for Hester
Generally throughout society people are condemned, punished, and judged for their individual choices and flaws. This can depict the concept of alienation and the way it affects the relationship between an individual and their society. In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's, The Scarlet Letter, sin and guilt play a huge role in the Puritan society during the 17th century. The author uses Hester to show that people who make mistakes will often face consequences that isolate them from their society. Throughout the Scarlet Letter, Hester experiences the effects of isolation and the outcome of sin due to the corrupt rules and strict moral values in the society.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman, commits adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale. As a form of punishment, the judge forces Hester to wear a scarlet letter to signify her wrongdoing. The purpose of the scarlet letter is to correct Hester’s conduct. With the symbol of the scarlet letter, Hester’s Puritan community publicly judges and ridicules her. Today, judges sometimes still use public shaming as a form of punishment. For example, judges may order the offender to hold a sign describing the offense. Since the offender stands out in public, the community mocks and judges the offender. Judges should not use public shaming as a form of punishment towards an offender.
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published in 1850. It focuses on the life of the main protagonist, Hester Prynne, living in a Puritan community. Both Yamin Wang and Maria Stromberg offer insight into The Scarlet Letter and analyze multiple aspects of the story.. Both Wang and Stromberg claim that there is an underlying ideology hidden in the texts of the book. Wang approaches the story from a feminist approach and states that Hester represents the feminism in the Puritan community, and she analyzes the Puritan’s outlook on women in their society. Much like Wang believes there is an underlying feminism aspect to the story, Stromberg claims that the story has a hidden, social issue. Similarly, Stromberg also analyzes an
Hester is accused of adultery, and is forced by the city magistrates to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest for the rest of her life. She is forced to wear the mark, living with the “pang of it … always in her heart.” (78) Although she initially tries to degrade the negative connotation of the scarlet letter by decorating it and covering it up, she grows to accept “the scarlet letter flaming on her breast” (118), and the letter only increases her strength. The letter, although not a physical punishment, affects her more on a social and emotional level, isolating her from society and drawing ridicule from townsfolk. Her isolation leads her to connect with only a limited few, including Mistress Hibbins, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. More important than its meaning is the letter’s connection to the mark of the Black Man. The letter is a symbol of Hester’s sin, a mark telling society to stay away because of the awful evil she has committed. However, this letter A is also the mark of the Black Man. According to the “old dame[,] … [the] scarlet letter was the Black Man’s mark,” (277-278) , a symbol of one’s allegiance to the powers of evil. Hawthorne purposefully instills this connection, and forces the reader to more closely at the parallel. When questioned by Pearl, Hester sheds light on her letter, saying that she did “Once in [her] life I [meet] the Black Man” (278), and that the “scarlet letter is [in fact] his mark!” (278) Hester only internally realizes the connection between the Black Man and Chillingworth, but her claim leads the reader to understand the true relationship between the two connotations of her scarlet
Society had now begun to think that Hester had served her punishment. Although Hester was not accepted society before, she began to see the positive aspects of the community and was able continue on with her own life which eventually led to her being recognition of good character. Eventually recognizing her sin she had become a symbol of the Puritan faith, and eventually found her place in the community in a positive way. In The Scarlet Letter, the whole period of time the letter "A" was embroidered on her clothing it only represented one ideology, which was adultery. However, as time continues forward the community begins to finally start accepting her again, through her positive actions and influences, the letter "A" starts to represent a more positive ideology. Through these actions, "Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to do and power to sympathized -that many people refused to interpret the scarlet "A" by its original signification. They said that it meant "Able": so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman 's strength" (Hawthorne
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester transforms into a stronger, more confident woman through the experiences she encounters because of the scarlet letter she wears. At the beginning of the novel when Hester is ordered to wear the scarlet letter, she suffers from feelings of hopelessness and despair; feelings that trigger the thought of suicide as an option to end her suffering. While newly wearing the letter, Hester feels as though it is only a burden; however, that changes as the letter soon reveals to be a gift in disguise. The scarlet letter allows Hester to sense the guilt of those who appear to be the purest and sinless, showing her the true hypocrisy of her society. By eventually learning of the hypocrisy of her society, Hester realizes that her fellow men and women should not have the power to ruin her life. By knowing this and continuing to not let the insults she hears from affecting her, Hester grows into a much stronger person who can ignore the ill-spirited words of the poor whom she helps and the citizens whom she has to interact with. Hester’s continual wearing of this letter makes the letter itself “her passport into regions where other women [dare] not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These [are] her teachers, —stern and wild ones, —and they [make] her strong, but [teach] her much amiss" (Hawthorne, 300). Despite the many hardships Hester
When members of society do not conform, they are often treated differently. Those who are rebels, those who break the rules and do not fit into the status quo, become outcasts to society. These castaways are often avoided, ignored, and disrespected by societal figures. Modern society is easily said to have multiple different expectations for its affiliates, in relation to physical ideals, emotional processes, and intelligence levels. Societies’ essential goals for human life are everywhere; magazines, television, radio, the internet, and even on everyday streets. The pressure to be ‘perfect’ is strong, however very difficult to attain. However, most people, if not all, do strive to be successful in meeting these qualities of perfection, whether
In the “Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays hypocrisy of the Puritan society, where the protagonist Hester Prynne face many consequences of her actions and the how she tries to redeem herself to the society. During the seventeenth puritans believe that it is their mission to punish the ones who do not follow God’s word and it is their job to stop those from sinning. Therefore, the hypercritical puritan society punishes Hester harshly for committing adultery, but in Hester’s mind, she believes that what she did was not a sin but acts of love for her man. Eventually, she redeems herself by turning her crime into an advantage to help those in need, yet the Puritan society still view her as a “naughty bagger.” (Hawthorne 78)
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne pinpoints various effects of sin on individuals within a strict, Puritan society. To shed a negative light on Puritan attitudes toward sin and lack of forgiveness, Hawthorne paints vivid pictures of freedom and imprisonment, relief and regret, through the juxtaposition of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, and the characterization of the two lovers.
People in life go through many hardships and challenges, but it is in the way we handle those hardships in which our true character is shown. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, the author Nathaniel Hawthorne shows his audience many ways to people interpret hardships, and some people do not take them very well. For instance the Reverend Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale 's believes his actions of self-punishment and sin created a world in which he could no longer live a life of truth and holiness.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is an extreme outcast in her society following her public ignominy and being sinfully branded as the adulterer. Succeeding Hester’s removal of the “A” from her chest, she initially believes that “the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit” (182). Hester feels as though the removal of the “A” has removed the stigma pertaining to the “A”, as well as the constraints and disregard society has cast upon her. But whether or not Hester contains a physical marker of her ignominy, she will be abandoned within society. After seven years of being accustomed to Hester’s sin, townspeople still believe Hester was “dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy” (203). Hester remains a victim
The plot of the Scarlet Letter is based on sin and faults of the characters in this book. Due to the mistakes of Hester and Dimmesdale a child was created and the child violated the law against infidelity. However, the real evil came from Roger Chillingworth, who was altered by his desire for revenge. The Puritans believed that sinning is the nature of mankind. While others felt that mankind has good intents but those intentions can be corrupted by evil. In this novel three different symbols are used to represent evil: The letter ‘A’, The Scaffold and The Black Man. The only thing worse than committing sin is failing to admit to it.