Theme Of Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 1800s, but the book is placed in the Puritan times of the 1600s. Hawthorne is an anti-transcendentalist, which means he thinks society is good and nature is evil and humans are naturally evil. Puritanism is a very strict religion in the 1600s. If you are a Puritan you are against all earthly pleasure and your life is hell on Earth. Hawthorne uses multiple symbols in The Scarlet Letter, symbolism is a literary device that uses symbols to represent ideas. In this novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbolic significance of the Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth to contribute to the theme of guilt. To begin, Hawthorne uses the Scarlet Letter to portray the theme of guilt. In this scene Hester Prynne is walking onto the scaffold for the punishment of the sin she has committed. The women in the crowd are talking about how Hester deserves a worse punishment. The Scarlet Letter is the A on Hester’s bosom to tell the public she is an adulterer, bringing her judgement and guilt everyday. “-was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminate upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.” (Hawthorne 51). This means that Hester’s Scarlet Letter is made beautifully but it makes her isolated from the townspeople. She is so guilty from her sin and judged from the people of the
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