I think that Hawthrone’s account of the Puritan’s harsh religious ways in his book, The Scarlet Letter, was not just an observation but a critique of their beliefs. The Scarlet Letter, in a New England town, points outs many ways where woman are treated in the Puritan society and the way their earthly sins were extremely punished. In Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” the narrator has a negative attitude toward Puritan America beacuse of the diction chosen to describe Hester’s torment on top of the Scaffold, the way the towns people treat Pearl, and the way they treat Hester. In the Scarlet Letter the narrator talks about Adultry in a negative way because of the symbolism used in the scaffold.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Pearl Prynne is the most symbolic character. Throughout the novel, she is portrayed as the main symbol of adultery. Pearl’s name comes from Hester’s constant reminder of her sin and “as being of great price,-purchased with all she had,-her mother’s only treasure!” (Hawthorne). Hester was seen as an outcast by her community.
We are all sinners, no matter how hard we try to hide our faults, they always seem to come back, one way or another. Written in the 19th century, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us Hester Prynne and how one sin can change her life completely. Hester Prynne changes a great deal throughout The Scarlet Letter. Through the view of the Puritans, Hester is an intense sinner; she has gone against the Puritan way of life committing the highest act of sin, adultery. For committing such a sinful act, Hester must wear the scarlet letter while also having to bear stares from those that gossip about her.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s brilliant novel, The Scarlet Letter uses hypocrisy to illustrate the corruption within the Puritan religion. Hawthorne’s novel specifically illustrates the injustices of the Puritan religion before, and after The Salem Witch trials of 1692. Most of Hawthorne’s characters did something hypocritical to further develop their character and emotions. Hawthorne uses real historical people to prove his points; including Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale, and Doctor Chillingworth. All of these characters have either been a victim of hypocrisy or have been exposed by hypocrisy by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s purpose in writing the Scarlet Letter is to address the punishment Hester endures at the hands of the Puritan society and he utilizes the appeals of Pathos, Ethos, and writes with a moralizing tone in order to develop our feelings towards female strength and how one women could defy the society she lives in and live a life of punishment. Hawthorne sends hidden messages through allusions to give off what a character is going through or to give depth to a scene. Hawthorne brings to the table many references to the Bible and Greek mythology to better describe his characters and the theme of his novel. When he says “..like a snake gliding swiftly over them..” (Hawthorne 42), Hawthorne is referencing the Bible.
Based on the tragic events of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, The Crucible is a hard-hitting tale that reflects upon the subjectivity of goodness and virtue, sparking the reflection of the importance of moral behavior during times of hardship and crisis. In an unyielding and restricted Puritan community like Salem village, a bad reputation could result in social exclusion and scorning from the community. As a result, many members of the community would go to extremes to avoid tarnishing their reputations. The Crucible asserts that those who are concerned only with protecting their standings are dangerous to a society, as they are willing to blame and hurt other people in order to protect themselves.
Is sinning really sinful? Is sinning really sinful? In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter there are quite a few examples of sin. However, Hawthorne depicts the same sin as one being more sinful then the other, until they redeem these sins. In this essay I will explore these examples to determine whether this thesis is true.
Hawthorne wanted his readers to understand that two people who have sinned can seek forgiveness and receive it. Throughout the story many stereotypes are expressed and Hawthorne used the listed stereotypes to express the idea that all people, both pure of heart and evil of soul, commit sins. When Hester, a beautiful, young woman and Dimmesdale a minister have an affair, thus committing a sin, they both provide an example of a cliche that good people make poor decisions. Hawthorne used Hester and Dimmesdale as stereotypes to prove that all people, no matter the morale or disposition, commit
Hawthorne’s third person omniscient narration also supports him in his task of analyzing the individual in society by enabling him to look at Hester after her sin became public, while also giving him a wide enough scope to criticize elements of the Puritan society. In Hawthorne’s view, evidenced in this novel, the most damaging and powerful tool of social order that the highly religious Puritan society can inflict on the individual is a constant sense of guilt. The guilt and punishment that Hester Prynne’s society imposes on her for her sin is considered to be too much by Hawthorne, and his most emotional criticism of Hester’s over-reaching punishment is presented when Hester’s donations of high-quality clothes to the poor are rebuffed with
Hawthorne demonstrates the effects of sin on the lives and reputations of Hester, Dimmesdale, Pearl, and Chillingworth. Although many might argue, especially given the Puritan setting of the novel, that public confrontation of sin tarnishes a person’s reputation, Hawthorne’s recurring motif of sin serves to make a broader point about the dangers of repressing sin. The Scarlet Letter suggests that the acknowledgement of sin as an innate aspect of humanity ultimately fosters personal growth. Mentions of sin recur frequently throughout Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
Once the idea of witchery took deep root into the hearts of the people, many were accused and arrested. Out of the selfishness of her heart, Abigail accused Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft in an attempt to be rid of her so she could have John. She kept telling herself that she was in love with him, and she would use any opportunity to her advantage to be rid of Elizabeth. This however, would not bode well with John.
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the Scarlet letter to display the sin and indecency people see Hester as. The detail represents ,the deep beauty Hester has inside although most people do not see her as a beutiful women. The deep red is a representation of adultery which shows her being an oncast from society. The symbol of the letter “A” is repetitive throughout the novel and grows with Hester and overcomes this with time as people start to see her as a person again and not just a adulterer. Hester acknowledges her sin in her puritan faith but swears to secrecy on the father of Pearl.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is an extreme outcast in her society following her public ignominy and being sinfully branded as the adulterer. Succeeding Hester’s removal of the “A” from her chest, she initially believes that “the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit” (182). Hester feels as though the removal of the “A” has removed the stigma pertaining to the “A”, as well as the constraints and disregard society has cast upon her. But whether or not Hester contains a physical marker of her ignominy, she will be abandoned within society. After seven years of being accustomed to Hester’s sin, townspeople still believe Hester was “dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy” (203).
Hawthorne described three things in The Scarlet Letter. Sin, guilt, and redemption. Hawthorne uses people to symbolize them. Hester Prynne was one. Hawthorne allows the reader to get a better understanding by using biblical references.
Expressionist artist, Edvard Munch, created a popular painting given the name “The Scream” for its representation of the embodiment of suffering on man and nature. The landscape of the painting is a “dark orange sky” meant to represent the suffering of nature as it is being destroyed by volcanic eruptions and natural disasters. The figure of a man with an “agonized expression” is said to be a result of the great amount of suffering he encounters as both nature and the world around him ceases to exist. Suffering comes in a variety of different ways and at a myriad of different degrees. While suffering appears in many different forms throughout The Scarlet Letter in both Hester and Dimmesdale, the suffering of Dimmesdale is much worse because of the copious amounts of guilt within his conscience.