Sin In Scarlet Letter

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Sin is a prevalent theme throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. The main character, Hester Pryne’s sin of adultery instigates the entire novel. The novel follows Hester’s journey in dealing with her sin in a strict Puritan town. Nathaniel Hawthorne provides an example of how someone’s sin can affect many individuals. Hester’s sin not only affects herself, but also affects many other characters including the Puritans, Roger Chillingworth, Arthur Dimmesdale and her daughter Pearl. Hester’s sin leads other characters to commit their own sins. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses The Scarlet Letter as clear testament to the effects of sin. The Puritans in Boston are painted as judgmental and intolerant people. Consequently, in the Puritan’s…show more content…
The Puritans’ disgusting looks and hurtful words continually remind Hester of her sinful actions. Hester is originally tortured by the constant mental burden that the townspeople, her own daughter, and the scarlet letter enforce. The weight of her sin affects her physically and mentally. After seven years of punishment, her beauty and warmth have disappeared. Hawthorne writes, “her beauty, the warmth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like fading sunshine; and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her” (478). However, despite her challenging situation, Hester’s strength is exemplified in her ability to turn the “A” from a negative symbol to a positive one. Through her determination, courage, and compassion she turns the letter “A” from meaning adultery to…show more content…
Throughout the story, Chillingworth’s sin of anger leads to more human-detested sin. Chillingworth’s sin is of a different nature. Chillingworth commits the sin of revenge without any sympathy. His sin demoralizes him and turns him into a devil. While in prison Hester asks her husband, “Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest round about us?” (Hawthorne 488). Out of vengeance, Chillingworth purposefully prolongs and intensifies Dimmesdale’s suffering. Hester meets Chillingworth in the forest. Hester is met with a transformed version of her husband. Chillingworth has an evident blackness and a red light glowing out of his eyes. Hawthorne describes it: “the old man’s soul were on fire, and kept on smoldering duskily within his breast” (518). Hatred and revenge consumed Chillingworth and ultimately the reader discovers that Chillingworth “positively withered up, shriveled away” (Hawthorne
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