Scarlet Letter Conflict Essay

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Humanity’s effort to impose right and wrong has been a driving force throughout history. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne conveys these ideas through the struggles which the characters confronted. The conflicts which Hester Prynne faced were caused by the human desire to enforce true morality.
The person versus person conflict which Hester faced demonstrates the need to implement morality. The struggle between Hester and Roger Chillingworth is primarily based on her desire to end his torture of Reverend Dimmesdale. The conflict between the two is exemplified when Hester says, “It was I, not less than he. Why hast thou not avenged thyself on me?” (Hawthorne 157). Hester believed that she held the greater responsibility for the effects
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Hester faced a terrible struggle as she attempted to find a place in a society which rejected her. The cruelty she faced is exemplified when one woman says, “‘This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die’”(47). The Puritan society she lived in believed that Hester’s sin reflected poorly on the society as a whole and that she had to be punished severely. The societal view of morality was that Hester had committed a terrible wrong which could be neither forgiven nor forgotten. The society enforced these morals by punishing her with the scarlet letter and making her an outcast. Hawthorne describes this punishment when he writes, “She was made the common infamy, at which all mankind was summoned to point its finger” (71). The entirety of the town could view the scarlet letter, the mark of her sin. However, it was not enough for them to punish her by making her shame public. Puritan morals required Hester to feel truly terrible about her sin and to repent. In order to implement this morality, the society put her on a scaffold and constantly publicly ridiculed her so that they could all cast shame upon her. Hester lived in a society which believed that she had to live the remainder of her life in infamy because of the sin she had committed. Hester’s conflict against society was caused by its need to enforce its morality upon
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