Essay On The Greater Sin In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

797 words - 3 pages

The Greater Sin in The Scarlet Letter

In essence, there were three main sins committed in The Scarlet Letter, the sins of Hester, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. Roger Chillingworth committed the greatest sin because he let himself be ruled by hatred and the consuming desire for vengeance.  The overpowering vengeance and hatred felt by Chillingworth caused his life to be centered on demeaning Dimmesdale and tormenting him until the end of time.  Both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale committed sins for which they were deeply remorseful, Roger Chillingworth, however, committed the greater sin because he felt no guilt. 

Unknowingly, Hester Prynne sailed from Europe to the Americas betrayed and tricked.  Waiting for the arrival of her husband, Roger Chillingworth, she lost hope in him ever arriving or even still being alive.  After enduring two years of tortured loneliness and lost love, Hester wished to feel the warmth of love again.  She tried to fill this emptiness by making love with the Reverend Dimmesdale.  When her child Pearl was born, Hester's adulterous sin was discovered and she was cast out from their society and required to wear an embroidered “A” on her bosom in punishment.  Hester felt guilt for her sin the rest of her life and sought repentance and absolution until the time she died.  Hester never had true love for Chillingworth, but was tricked into marriage.  She later told him this while speaking in her jail cell saying to him, “... thou knowest that I was frank with thee, I felt no love, nor feigned any” (Hawthorne, page #). Hester was betrayed, tricked and allowed herself to become caught up in the evil desires of another.  She then allowed herself to be trapped by sin, causing great remorse in her life; making her sin the lesser of the three committed in The Scarlet Letter.

Reverend Dimmesdale was a renowned, prideful man stricken with sin and extreme guilt.  From the time Hester and Dimmesdale made love, he was grievous of his sin but he also felt a great love towards her.  Dimmesdale's stubborn pride troubled him greatly, and although he tried many times, he could not confess his sin to his religious followers.  Dimmesdale felt guilt so strongly that he scourged himself on his breast and patterned an “A” into his own flesh, yet he could not confess his sin until his grief grew so great it caused him to perish.  Reverend...

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