The Unconscious Mind In The Scarlet Letter

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, seamstress Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale have a major love affair, resulting in Hester being outcast from society and Dimmesdale putting himself in a prison of shame and guilt. Adultery is extremely frowned upon in the Puritan community, which has very strict rules and is very oppressive. This love affair developed the consequence of their daughter Pearl, who was born into the shame due to the fact of her being a child born out of wedlock. The unconscious mind, portrayed by Sigmund Freud, is depicted vividly in the character of Hester Prynne whilst helping and tempting her with her decisions. The unconscious mind, as characterized by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, consists of three parts: the id, ego, and superego. The id responds directly to our natural instinct or the “primitive… component of personality” (McLeod). Our ego is “modified by the direct influence of the external world” (The Ego and the ID p.25), which makes it the decision-making component of our psyche. Lastly, our superego controls guilt, aspirations, and morality. It develops between the ages of 3 and 5, based primarily off of what we witness our parents doing and hear what they are saying. Repression in a society such as the Puritan community results in tempting, impulsive actions put forth by our id. Hester was in a loveless marriage with Roger Chillingworth, the villain in the novel. As a consequence of her marriage and the
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