Theme Of Suffering In The Scarlet Letter

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne explores recurring themes of suffering surrounding the main characters, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester and Dimmesdale both commit adultery with each other, and, as a result of this, both experience gruesome and occasionally unbearable forms of suffering. Though they undergo different forms of pain, both of their experiences are highly reliant on how the Puritan society treats them. Hester 's pain stems from the shame and estrangement she receives from the community, while Dimmesdale’s is due to the reverence with which the community regards him. Although, in spite of the fact that both Hester and Dimmesdale receive harsh penalty for their sin, by the end of the book, Hawthorne shows how their suffering is, in fact, the key to their salvation. The hardships and punishments of both Hester and Dimmesdale, while difficult to endure at the time, were eventually beneficial and allowed them to free themselves from the Puritan community and escape their pain. Hester, throughout the beginning and middle of the book, is forced to face alienation and humiliation from her town, though by the end of the book, she is able to use her punishment to set her free from her society. First, Hester reflects on the effect of her sin, and realizes, “ . . . the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul . . .” (72). In order to overcome her sin, Hester needs to endure, “the torture of her daily shame.” The

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