Scarlet Letter Guilt Quotes

580 Words3 Pages

Guilt is a serious emotion that has the power to effect a person greatly. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates the true meaning of guilt by focusing on the grave consequences that follow a culpable deed. Hester and Dimmesdale have committed the sin of adultery and must live with the guilt that accompanies this. Through Dimmesdale’s death, Hester’s ridicule, and the narrator’s depiction of human nature, guilt is clearly interpreted. Hawthorne defines guilt as physical, social, and emotional suffering caused by an irreversible sinful action.
The aspects of physical suffering as a result of guilt is an essential part of Hawthorne’s plot. Due to his sin, Dimmesdale experiences a grim fate. When upon the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, he “tore away the ministerial band from before his breast. It was revealed! But it were irreverent to describe that revelation...Then, down he sank upon the scaffold!” (250). Once Dimmesdale unveils his own scarlet letter, he finally experiences the final straw of his personal suffering. Because his guilt is so magnificent, he is condemned. Hawthorne …show more content…

A memorable scene is Hester’s public ridicule on the scaffold shortly after her sin is revealed. The crowd mocks her, shouting things such as, “They should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead” (49). This scorn is a mirror of the guilt that has manifested within Hester, causing her to “Clasp the infant closely to her bosom: not so much by that she may conceal a certain token” (50). The guilt Hester experiences is so great that she uses Pearl in an attempt to conceal her sin. The ridicule Hester endures socially reflects the self-reproach she feels within. Guilt is outlined in this event through the mockery that is a result of her sinful offense. This conveys Hawthorn’s view on the social suffering that contributes to the delineation of

Open Document