Consequences Of Sin Essay

1104 words - 4 pages

Consequences of SinThe major theme of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 19th century masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, is sin, both openly confessed and hidden, and the very real consequences for those who sin. The setting takes place during the Puritan rule of Boston, Massachusetts. There were much harsher consequences for being sinful than there are today. The Puritans thought the only way God would forgive one's sin is to openly confess it in front of all the townspeople. The Puritans were neither pure nor could ever be considered to be nice or forgiving. Through out Hawthorne's novel he shows how the Puritans deal with sin and how they are very cruel to the people who fail to live up to the community's impossibly high standards of behavior. Each character reacts differently to their sin, some confessing it, others hiding it deep inside themselves. The consequences of their sin will forever change their lives whether they ever confess it publicly or not. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne, and Roger Chillingworth are the ones whom commit sins in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel. Hawthorn creates a different consequence and way to make up for one's sins. Dimmesdale keeps his sin inside for years and Chillingworth is overcome with his need for revenge. Hester is publicly punished for her sin of adultery.After being separated for a long amount of time from her husband, which was to make the trip from Europe soon after her, she becomes attracted to another man. She falls in love with Reverend Dimmesdale. Hester becomes pregnant with Dimmesdale's baby, revealing her sin of adultery. She is ordered to server jail time and sent to the scaffold to be mocked by all the townspeople and is pressured to reveal the father of her child. Hester responds by stating that Pearl, her daughter, has only a heavenly father. The governor supposedly shows mercy by not having her hung and makes Hester's punishment the scarlet letter, "A", which she has to wear on her chest for the rest of her life in Boston. Hester was to be considered an outcast for the rest of her life. This was the Puritan way of punishing her for her then sin, adultery. The Scarlet Letter on her clothes does the exact opposite of that which it was meant to do. Hester soon upsets all the odds against her because of her pride and courage. Hester goes beyond everything asked of her causing people to eventually consider the "A" the mean "able"(158) not adulator. After Dimmesdale passes away, she returns from Europe to Boston as payment of her sin and more to set and example to other people in the town.While Hester tries to make the best out of her situation, Dimmesdale grows weaker by letting guilt eat away at his conscience. Since Dimmesdale is a devoted Puritan, he cannot accept his loss of innocence. Dimmesdale punishes himself by believing that he can never be redeemed in God's eyes. He is so touchy on this subject that when Hester says his good deeds will count for something in God's view, he states, "There...

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