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Flawlessly Flawed Essay

1546 words - 7 pages

Everyone in the world has done something wrong, including the person writing this and the person reading this. People usually are reprimanded for their behavior privately or they are not held responsible to the issue. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale both did something wrong, the only difference was their sins were publicized. This is superfluous punishment. Overindulgence in retribution is potent to society, but it is unnatural demonstrated by the prison, the scaffold, and the scarlet letter.
The prison is an efficacious punishment created by the Puritans to stop people from aberrantly behaving but disrupts nature because it is manmade construct. When the founders of Boston, the Puritans, first arrived at the new colony they realized, “The earliest practical necessities [were] to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and the other as the site of a prison” (Hawthorne, 45). The Puritan’s immediately knew that they needed to create a prison to maintain their strict rules. They believe nature to be evil; therefore the best place to establish the prison is in nature. By doing this they have caused dissipation of nature and ruined the land. Hawthorne describes the prison door as, “[Being] heavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes” (45). The door is made of natural wood, but by using iron spikes on the door the Puritans have defiled it. It makes the door seem more menacing because the man-made spikes interrupt nature. When describing the oubliette Hawthorne says, “Some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age, which gave a… gloomy front” (45). Nature has already tried to ruin the prison, making nature seem a counter to Puritan beliefs. It leads the prison to seem even more terrifying to Puritans because nature has tarnished it. According to Hawthorne, surrounding the prison is, “Unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison” (46). The vegetation surrounding the prison has sprouted from manmade ideas. There are black flowers because black was the Puritan’s color to represent Satan. The Puritans have corrupted nature by placing their prison in nature; therefore Satan is reflected on their civilized society. The prison represents Puritan’s trying to perversely punish those who sin.
The scaffold is successful punitive measure that cruelly manifests the wrongdoer to the society, and its effect changes based on the purpose of person the presenting themselves on it. When describing the structure of the scaffold Hawthorne says, “The very ideal of ignominy was embodied and made manifest in this contrivance of wood and iron… no outrage more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame” (53). Puritans believed in public punishment for immoral behavior, so they create this structure in order to pure one of his/her...

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