Romantic Love In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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First and foremost is the role of romantic love in The Scarlet Letter, most prominently visible in the romance between Hester and Dimmesdale. While the reader is not afforded the opportunity of learning about the details of the affair, it is the most important driver of the events in the novel. It functions as the locus of virtually all the controversy the characters are forced to endure as Hester refuses to reveal the name of her lover, going so far as to say that “[Pearl] will never know an earthly father” (page 64). This action, noble as it may seem, raises innumerable questions among the townspeople and speaks volumes to the reader about Hester. Hester loves her lover more than she loves her own husband, a blasphemous act for Puritan New…show more content…
Familial love is equally important to the story as it is what begins to blur the intentions of the characters. For example, the story consistently portrays Hester as the loving, protective mother who will go to any length to protect her daughter, Dimmesdale as a tragic, tortured protagonist while Chillingworth is a vengeful, serpentine antagonist. While such a statement most definitely applies to Hester, who keeps her daughter despite her being a reminder of her “sin,” Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are more complicated. Dimmesdale functions almost as an absentee father, serving as the man behind the curtain who pulls the strings to keep Pearl in Hester’s hands. Conversely, Chillingworth is a snakelike figure driven only by revenge. However, one must also consider the possibility that Dimmesdale is protective of Pearl not purely out of love but also because he fears retribution from Hester. After all, up until the later events of the novel only Hester has knowledge of who Pearl’s father is. Moreover, after his death, it is Chillingworth, not Dimmesdale, who leaves behind a large inheritance for Pearl, securing a good social standing in her
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