Following Hester’s punishment at the stands, Hawthorne wrote, “Every gesture, every word, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she inhabited another sphere” (58). Despite these social ramifications, Hester sought to become a better person. Eight years after receiving the scarlet letter, the townspeople perceived Hester differently. Because of Hester’s desire to help the community, the town now views her as a force for good. Hawthorne explained that, “[The town] said that [the scarlet letter] meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne” (111).
Often when people make a mistake, they try to mask the truth to elude the corollary. The Puritans had a very demanding society. Which all sins were greeted with grim punishment. In The Scarlet letter Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale commit a sin amongst the Puritan society; adultery, but only half of the truth is revealed. The Puritan society only knows about Hester’s sin; all the while, Dimmesdale’s half of the "shared sin" remains concealed.
In The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a narcissistic personality is seen in the character of Dimmesdale, the reverend in the Puritan town of 17th century Boston, and secret lover of Hester Prynne. Hester, having given birth to a child out of wedlock, is forced to wear the letter “A” on her chest as punishment for her adultery. She is ceaselessly insulted and ostracized by the other Puritans for the rest of her time in the town. Meanwhile, Hester refuses to reveal who her lover is and thus, Dimmesdale is able to maintain his facade of a pure and holy reverend. However, Dimmesdale belittles Hester’s suffering while punishing himself out of shame, revealing his narcissistic tendencies.
The place of isolation can become the place of revelation. The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of Hester Prynne's life after having a child, Pearl, while her husband, Roger Chillingworth, was away and having to live with an A on her chest for adultery. The father of the child, Arthur Dimmesdale, had to live with the guilt and beat himself because of it and the truth remained a secret to almost everyone, except Chillingworth, who planned to get revenge on him because of his sin. Chillingworth became evil and changed because he wanted revenge on Dimmesdale and the guilt made Dimmesdale feel sick. Dimmesdale died after he told everyone the truth and Pearl gained a sense of compassion when she saw him dying.
Towards the end of The Crucible, Proctor shames himself and confesses of having affair with Abigail. Abigail denies John’s words and says “If I must answer that, I will leave and I will not come back again” (pg. 1207) because she knows that if she confesses now all the work she has put on the line will be done all for nothing, and will make her look more like a fool than she ever was. This quote indicates that Abigail Williams is a selfish antagonist because she is lying about something that is clearly noticeable. Some people may argue that Abigail isn’t the only one to blame, as in there are many others to blame for the loss of many lives.
John Proctor’s affair with Abigail Williams, causes his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, to lose faith in him. As Elizabeth’s suspicion increases, so does his irritation. John’s annoyance and Elizabeth’s evident grudge is displayed through their language and tone with one another. In addition, their actions suggest their relationship lacks components needed for a healthy relationship–communication, trust, respect, etc. Being in an unhealthy relationship may not be obvious to those who are in it, but through one’s words and actions to the other, others can tell right
The time period in which the Scarlet Letter takes place is centered around the strict moral codes and harsh punishments of the Puritan religion and culture. Puritan women convicted of adultery would be publicly shamed and punished by the community, which is the fate Hester Prynne suffers. As a result of her infidelity, the townspeople inflict public humiliation on Hester by forcing her to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her bosom and by ordering her to stand on the scaffold, a platform Puritans used to excommunicate sinners. The walk to the scaffold serves as a prime example of the isolation inflicted upon Hester within the novel because she underwent an "agony from every footstep of [the people who] thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon" (Hawthorne 64). Courageously, Hester decides to embrace her punishment on the scaffold by taking her baby on her arm and, with a contemptuous smile, looking directly at the townspeople, boldly revealing the “A” embroidered by her chest.
John Proctor defies the church by forgetting the adultery commandment, a major sin that is punishable by death. This causes tension between him and Judge Danforth who believes Proctor is guilty of adultery because of his affair with Abigail Williams. Danforth begins to conceive that Salem citizens can not only carry out sins and break away from the church, but from the government as well. This is perceived as a personal fear, but it’s the actions Danforth carries out that makes the fear spread among the community. He questions those who are convicted, and punishes them without a proper trial.
He feels guilty for having an affair with Hester and keeping it a secret. As a result, he punishes himself physically, going to great lengths to try and rid himself of guilt. He lives his life hiding the truth from others, while watching Hester struggle to come to terms with the truth. The height of the hypocrisy in the situation comes when Dimmesdale tells Hester, "Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him-yea, compel him, as it were-to add hypocrisy to sin (Hawthorne 58)?"
Because she committed such sin, she is ridiculed and humiliated on the scaffold. Contrary to what is expected, Hester stays in Boston in order for Pearl, her daughter, to have a normal life and her love for Dimmesdale, the minister, as well as Pearl, also convinced