Scarlet Letter Sacrifice

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Love is an emotion that has been the known root of many conflicts, but it is also an action that has produced many wondrous things. The concept of love in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, is no different. At times, it generates animosity, yet, at other times, it evokes a sense of oneness. Love, as both an action, and an emotion, serves as a catalyst that elicits sinful acts, the uptaking of responsibility, as well as drives sacrifice. Love, in the form of an emotion, can be a powerful, driving force, in one’s decision making. By acting on this emotion, and expressing love as a physical action, the concept of sin emerges. Sin is defined as the transgression of divine law, and in Hawthorne’s novel, the principle sin caused by …show more content…

All actions are known to have reactions, thus, there must be repercussions when one sins. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester must take responsibility for her sins. One way Hester is responsible for her sin is through the task of raising Pearl. Hawthorne outlines this in saying, “[Pearl] was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life… But, in truth, Pearl was the one, as well as the other; and only in consequence of that identity had Hester contrived so perfectly to represent the scarlet letter in her appearance.”(VII, 84) Pearl is being likened to the symbol of Hester’s scarlet letter because she is a constant reminder of the sin, as is the letter. In both ways, through the letter, and the child, Hester is forced to face the responsibility that came with her sin. Another way that Hester must take responsibility for her sin has to do with Dimmesdale. Because they committed the sin together, they are eternally linked, illustrated by this quote, “...Hester saw—or seemed to see—that there lay a responsibility upon her, in reference to the clergyman, which she owed to no other, nor to the whole world besides. The links that united her to the rest of human kind—links of flowers, or silk, or gold, or whatever the material—had all been broken. Here was the iron link of mutual crime, which neither he nor she could break. Like all other ties, it brought with it its obligations…”(XIII, 132) In all that occurs, whether directly related to their act of passion or not, Hester and Dimmesdale have a bond, and that will always be a way in which Hester is responsible in the aftermath of the actions. Because there is an influence of sin, acts of responsibility must be taken as a

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