Sin And Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

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In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne writes about the idea of sin and guilt, and how it affects a person’s life. The story takes place in a small town in Boston, where most of its residents are Puritans who believed in the idea of predestination in which a person is chosen to go to hell or heaven by God at birth. The Scarlet Letter follows a woman named Hester, who has committed the sin of adultery and how she handles the consequences of her actions throughout her life. Throughout the story, Hawthorne shows that everyone feels guilty when they do something wrong, however, how a person handles their guilt and sin determines how the rest of their lives are played out.
In Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale and Hester both committed the sin of adultery together, however, Hester has to publicly display her sin to the town with the Scarlet letter sewed onto her
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Hester was publicly shamed and must face the consequences of her sins in front of others. The opportunity of redemption was available to Hester because the townspeople has punished her with the scarlet letter on her chest and a public shaming. Dimmesdale was not given the same chance at redemption as Hester because he deals with his sin privately, where none of the townspeople can see. Dimmesdale’s method of managing his sin and guilt does not work as well as Hester’s method because he by never confessed his crimes in front the town and dies because he did not confess his sins earlier. Both Hester and Dimmesdale has committed the same sin together, but Hester was able to live out her life as normally as she can due to the public shaming and the scarlet letter on her chest. Dimmesdale died in the end of the story because he waited to long to finally confess his sins. Hawthorne has shown through these characters that how a person handles their guilt and sin will be important in the outcome of their
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