Theme Of Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American author and anti-transcendentalist alive in the 1800’s. As an anti-transcendentalist, Hawthorne believed that a person is naturally evil and society is good. Being the great nephew of John Hathorne, one of the judges in the Salem Witch Trials, he became obsessed with puritan society. The puritans were against all earthly possessions, wanting it to be hell on earth, so they could go to heaven. The Scarlet Letter is set in the 1600’s in a puritan society. In his novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbolism of Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and the burrs to contribute to the overall theme of guilt. First, Hawthorne uses the symbol of Arthur Dimmesdale to contribute to the theme of guilt. The novel begins with introducing the reader to Hester Prynne, who committed adultery and walks around town with a scarlet letter A on her bosom. The town minister, Dimmesdale, is the man who committed adultery with Hester, except he chooses to keep this sin a secret. Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale to represent dimming the light of truth, being dumb about not telling the truth, and the light of his life dimming due to not telling the truth. Hawthorne says, “about this period, however, the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently began to fail … his form grew emaciated; his voice … had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it; he was often observed … to put his hand over his heart, with a flush and then a paleness, indicative of pain” (Hawthorne
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