Rhetorical Devices Used In Scarlet Letter

820 Words4 Pages

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the protagonist is found guilty of adultery after spending time prison her only other punishment is to wear the letter A for the rest of her life and stand on a raised platform for three hours. Hester is out in the open, in front of society standing there on the platform. For that three hours many fingers were pointed and many whispers filled the air. In that time Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale delivers a sermon convincing Hester Prynne to speak the name of her lover. Dimmesdale uses rhetorical devices to help him get the name out of her such as rhetorical question, where he questions what good does keeping the name from the public get her; pathos, arousing her emotions;and finally the …show more content…

“What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him— yea, compel him, as it were — to add hypocrisy to sin?” After the different approaches Dimmesdale brought forward to the community, she is being asked to reveal his name by asking what does she get from adding on to the sin. How does her hiding the name save him, from a sin he has already done? He tried in every way to get it out of her. He asks why was it okay for her lover to perform the adultery, do the sin, but then suddenly not okay for him to take on the punishment with her in front of the community. So by the end Dimmesdale’s argument into convincing Hester is, it is okay to tell the society that one name of who her lover is. There is not going to be a punishment greater than what is already given as it stands; she is only going to be one step closer to salvation. 
 The second rhetorical device used by Dimmesdale was pathos. Pathos is the arousing of emotions and in Hester’s case fear was the emotion being stirred up. Dimmesdale thinks that this “earthly punishment will thereby be more effectual to salvation,” because she will be freeing herself from the guilt of who he is but also bring her closer to Heaven than Hell, once everyone knows who he was. Dimmesdale wasn’t referring to the fact that, if she tells her punishment will be reduces. Instead he is pointing out that her hiding the name is only “adding to the hypocrisy,” and that if she choices to tell the name she would get that much closer to being in heaven in her

Open Document