What Are The Fatal Flaws In The Scarlet Letter

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Fatal flaws have been shown in works of literature throughout the centuries, causing the destruction of many characters. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, three of the main characters each have a fatal flaw. The novel, set in Puritan Boston between 1642-1679, tells the story of Hester Prynne through third person narrative. Hester begins her journey in the novel when she is brought from jail for her punishment in having an affair with someone in the town, resulting in her pregnancy. Her husband, Roger Chillingworth, who she believed dead, sought out revenge against the unknown father of Hester’s child. It is later revealed in the novel that the father of Hester’s child is the revered Reverend Dimmesdale. These characters each possess a fatal flaw that ultimately leads to their own distinctive downfall. Hester Prynne’s persistent attempt to make reparations for her sin leads to her losing her unique personality, Dimmesdale’s incapability to forgive his own guilt causes his mentality and health to crumble, and Roger Chillingworth’s desire for revenge overcomes his soul. Hester Prynne spends the length of the novel attempting to atone for her sin and shame, a feat that in turn subdues her vibrant personality. Hester, after being perpetually mocked and harassed for years by the whole of her community, strives to…show more content…
Through the characters of Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth, there is a common factor of a fatal flaw. Hester Prynne’s constant attempt to atone for her sin causes her to diminish her unique personality, instead conforming to the norm of being a Puritan woman. Dimmesdale’s incapability to forgive his sin with Hester leads him to deteriorate physically and psychologically to the point of death. Roger Chillingworth’s cruelty and desire for revenge lead him to become an evil, deformed
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