Theme Of Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

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Guilty as Charged: The Scarlet Letter Thematic Essay Nathaniel Hawthorne, an anti-transcendentalist author in the 1800’s, wrote The Scarlet Letter. The story, taking place during the 1600’s in a Puritan society, is about Hester, who commits adultery and wears a scarlet A on her chest for punishment. The author uses symbolism, which is using characters or objects to represent an idea, throughout the entire narrative. In his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbolism of Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and burrs to contribute to the overall theme of guilt. First, Dimmesdale reinforces the theme of guilt because he feels remorse for not confessing his sin of adultery. Hester and Dimmesdale, a minister, both commit adultery with each other and the consequence is Hester becoming pregnant with Pearl. Being too much of a coward to reveal he is Pearl’s father out on the scaffold, Dimmesdale punishes himself for seven years by carrying his burden all on his own. The name Dimmesdale represents dimming the light of truth, therefore, his life is fading when he will not confess his sins. Hawthorne states, “He (Dimmesdale) thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify, himself.” (Hawthorne 132). Physically and mentally torturing himself, Dimmesdale tries to get rid of his guilt by whipping himself, fasting, and not sleeping. In the end, he reaches the highest honor a minister can receive by preaching an Election Day sermon, but
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