Judgements In The Scarlet Letter

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, each character is judged in various ways. Some deal this judgement and some receive it. Hester Prynne’s unjust punishment, appointed to her by the townspeople, is a case in point. Not only is Judgement a part of human life, but it is something the brain does unconsciously. We constantly look at the behavior of others to gauge the trustworthiness of them, but these judgements are made much faster than they should. This in turn, may not provide an adequate analysis of their character. American romantic writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne had a history steeped in puritanism. So much so, that his relatives -before the change of his last name from Hathorne to Hawthorne- experienced the Salem Witch Trials,…show more content…
Dimmesdale is a hypocritical reverend that does not confess his sin, and Chillingworth who is the knowledgeable physician, does not treat his patient. As a result of his actions, the Clergyman’s health rapidly declined until the end where he was brought to the scaffold to ,“die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people!”(Hawthorne 383). This may seem like a strange story now but when studied and compared to the writing era it originated from, all aspects of Romanticism fit. Each main character in the story has their own unique personality full of conflicting thoughts and complex emotions. Every time Dimmesdale clenched his chest in pain or wallowed in self-pity, he did not feel only one thing, but felt several. He felt the subsequent hypocrisy of his actions, guilt, shame and fear. This is no more than a perfect example of Hawthorne’s ability to sense emotion and portray it in his characters, as stated by George Ripley, “Hawthorne’s tragedies, however, are always motivated with a wonderful insight and skill”(Ridley 295). Hawthorne writes character emotions so well that when he read The Scarlet Letter to his wife for the first time, “it broke her heart…which I look upon as a triumphant success. Judging from its effect”(Hawthorne), he saw her sadness as a victory only because that was the goal of the
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