preview

The Scarlett Letter: Sin Is Inevitable

Good Essays
The Christian faith is partially based on the concept that sin is imminent, for "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". The Old Testament in the Hebrew Bible portrays this belief through the narrative of Adam and Eve. They were created by God to be flawless but fell short of that expectation; teaching future generations that all humans have imperfections and sinning is inevitable. Likewise, Nathaniel Hawthorne in his novel, The Scarlett Letter, explores these indiscretions and different degrees and interpretations of sin. Hawthorne's plot is centered around Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth who each sin according to 1600's puritan society. Hester, who conceives a daughter through an affair, is condemned…show more content…
The sin of adultery is punishable by death in early puritan colonies; however, Hester is sentenced to time in prison, public humility, and is forced to wear a badge of shame. Upon her release from prison and amid her punishment, Hester finds herself as "the figure, the body, the reality of sin" (...); thus, she is burdened with an overwhelming feeling of guilt. Hester had to accept and cope with the realizations of her sin; subsequently, she begins to divert her attention to performing practical and good deeds around the town. Hester's acquaintances slowly shift their view of her and the scarlet letter she bears. They begin to interpret the scarlet letter as standing for "able" as opposed to "adulterer" and it acts as a "softer pillow for the head that needed one" (133-134). Although originally filled with guilt and agony, Hester embraces the burden of her sin and develops a new-found peace of mind. The town perception of Hester transitions from a sinful woman who deserves nothing, to a kind and caring counselor for those in need. This shift in public view allows Hester to overcome and change some of the potential consequences of her
Get Access