Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

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How does wearing an A for the rest of your life because of a sin sound? Not only can it be traumatizing and cause effects of guilt and sin. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many characters that experience effects of guilt and sin, but mostly Hester Prynne and Dimmesdale are the ones that experience it the worst. Not only is there internal guilt, but the effects can also take a toll on the overall appearance of someone. Throughout "The Scarlet Letter," there are many obvious effects of sin and guilt throughout the book, where if might affect a person in a bad way. Hester Prynne is often judged wherever she goes, whether it be her hometown or on top of the scaffold. Even in her own town of Salem, Massachusetts she is judged…show more content…
His overall appearance and health significantly decrease as time goes by. He becomes sicker and sicker, and for a period of time, it is not known that it is because he is feeling guilty of committing adultery. An explanation as to why his guilt is so bad, is not only that he has to deal with committing adultery, he has to deal with the fact that he is also a pastor. Everyone looks up to him as someone who is holy, and as someone who doesn't sin. Also, Dimmesdale looks older because he punishes himself. He punishes himself for sinning and going against what he teaches. He whips himself, to remind himself that he sinned. Not only does he do that, but he fasts for a long period of time, making his appearance look even worse. For example, Hawthorne uses words like "black" and "gnawed" to describe Dimmesdale's condition. It shows how much Dimmesdale is affected by his sin. "While thus suffering under bodily disease, and gnawed and tortured by some black trouble of the soul, and given over to the machinations of his deadliest enemy, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale had achieved a brilliant popularity in his sacred office. He won it indeed, in great part, by his sorrows" (117). As his life begins to fade, he goes up to the scaffold in front of the townspeople, and rips his clothing, revealing an A. He then dies in Hester's arms. This is a prime example of how much guilt can affect a person, mentally and
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