Guilt And Sin In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is heavily centered on showing diverse ways the Puritan people could face guilt and sin. As the plot develops, the four main characters: Hester Prynne, Pearl, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingsworth, all reach individual climaxes by dealing with the effects of guilt and sin differently. Hester confronts the guilt of adultery head on by flagrantly wearing a scarlet letter on her chest, Pearl deals with guilt and sin by being a living symbol of Hester’s egregious offense, Arthur Dimmesdale confronts the guilt of sin privately which leads to mental instability, and Roger Chillingsworth faces guilt and sin by being consumed by the darkness it causes. There are several climaxes in The Scarlet Letter due to the main characters facing the central conflict, the effects of guilt and sin, in various ways. Hester Prynne is the only prosecuted adulterer in her Puritan community, however, she grows from feeling the embarrassment of her actions to accepting them as a thing of the past. At the beginning of the novel Hester feels the shame she is intended to experience with the humbling effect of the…show more content…
Roger is the ex-husband of Hester Prynne who evilly plays psychological games on Arthur Dimmesdale to get revenge against him for having an affair with his wife. Roger’s character never really moves past the central problem against sin in The Scarlet Letter, this is shown by when he stated, “Peace, Hester, peace… It is not granted me to pardon” (Hawthorne 135). Roger may not have overcome guilt and sin in this book, but he did come to terms with the fact he is not meant to move on into forgiveness, that he wants to remain as the secret punisher for Arthur Dimmesdale. The realization of this life path for Roger, is when he accepts that he will remain an angry man until Arthur has served his time to Roger’s
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