Hester Prynne And Roger Chillingworth In Puritan Society

1467 words - 6 pages

Believed by many writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, society corrupts and conforms the individual, and it is the individual who breaks from consistency and conformity that is most free. Hester Prynne, a woman punished for adultery, is isolated by herself and her community, but breaks free from strict Puritan society. Roger Chillingworth, the husband of Hester, isolates himself which leads to the destruction of himself and the community. Hester Prynne and Roger Chillingworth experience different types of isolation, and while Hester chooses to transcend Puritan laws and live a purposeful life regardless of how it affects her, Chillingworth decides to become infatuated with the sin of Arthur Dimmesdale and live in revenge outside of Puritan society which ultimately leads to his demise.
Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Puritan society greatly affects the characters boundaries, limitations, and expectations because of their emphasis on God and the community. When John Winthrop said that the Puritans should be a “city upon a hill” (Winthrop), he set the societal precedent that any act within the community reflected the Puritans as a whole for the surrounding people and God to see (Winthrop). Likewise, any act out of line was a stain on the entire community in the eyes of others and God. Puritans laws aimed to control relationships, families, clothing, and other aspects of life. For example, if children did not conform to Puritan ideas and customs, the parents were seen as unfit, and the child was taken away (“The Puritan Family”). To emphasize that people should not be tied to earth by worldly belongings, Puritans wore modest, simple clothes in “sadd”, or somber, colors (“The Puritan Family”). Puritan people were expected to conform to these laws in order to reflect the community positively. The blue laws, or laws regulating people’s actions especially those on Sunday, and sumptuary laws which prohibited certain clothing kept society in line (“Blue Law”; "Colonial Laws of Massachusetts, 1651") . People such as Hester Prynne and Roger Chillingworth stepped outside of these boundaries and were therefore shunned from society (Hawthorne 47, 98). The puritan mindset affected how Hester and Chillingworth viewed there isolation.
Hester Prynne’s isolation, though primarily inflicted by the community, was also inflicted by herself, and in her isolation, Hester became an integral community member at the cost of her femininity and passion. Hester is primarily isolated by her community as she is forced to wear the scarlet letter for the rest of her life to separate her as an adulteress. This was common practice for colony members in Plymouth in 1694 though typically a whipping or death was the punishment (Hawthorne 220). The isolation caused by her community is not destructive to herself, and in a way, is beneficial for her soul. Using her needlework as an outlet for her creativity, Hester provided clothes for the poor, embroidered clothing, and earned back her...

Find Another Essay On Hester Prynne and Roger Chillingworth in Puritan Society

Unnatural and Devilish -- Roger Chillingworth; THE SCARLET LETTER

802 words - 3 pages that Roger Chillingworth is related to the "black man" in the forest. Chillingworth visits the scene and encounters Hester Prynne there. During the encounter the physician's eyes light up with a fiery glow; the very presence of this light provokes a terror in the reader. The symbolism Hawthorne uses during their meeting is appropriate because the Puritans feel the remoteness of the woods is a sure sign of evil -- the territory of the "black man

Roger Chillingworth Pertaining to Human Interactions and Relations

1701 words - 7 pages and excitement to any plot. One of the most famous antagonists is Roger Chillingworth. Roger Chillingworth is a one dimensional character who progresses throughout the novel from an intellectual botanist to an obsessed fiend, and symbolizes evil and the effects it has on one's body and soul.Roger Prynne marries Hester, a maiden ten years younger than he, and they live in England where he is an accomplished scholar and she is a lonely housewife

A literary Analysis of Hester Prynne in "A Scarlet Letter"

1758 words - 7 pages Deep in a forest, far away from grey, black, white, and the closely-knit community of the small Puritan town, a strange ruby stands beneath the verdant treetops and crunches the leaves beneath her feet. The ruby, scratched by the rough, stabbing thorns around her, who try to crack her deep inside, fails miserably by the protecting force of her strength and love. The external scratches strengthen the gem, Hester Prynne, into a sinful woman

Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

887 words - 4 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “ The Scarlet Letter’’ is a classical story about sin, punishment and revenge. It all began with a young woman named Hester Prynne who has committed adultery, and gave birth to a child in a Puritan society. Through the eyes of the puritans Hester has gone against their religious ways. Hester must now wear the symbol of the letter “A” on her clothing for the rest of her life as act of shame. Hester Prynne faces a long

A comparison between John Proctor and Hester Prynne

552 words - 2 pages Nicole EndaraMr. HellerEnglish 11 Honors10-2-14Essay 2Characters in the books The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter are very similar but written decades apart. In The Crucible the main character is John Proctor and in The Scarlet Letter the main character is Hester Prynne. John Proctor and Hester Prynne share similarities in adultery, punishment for actions and ties to the church.John Proctor commits adultery with his servant and did not tell

The Redemption of Hester Prynne In The Scarlett Letter

792 words - 3 pages punishment and she wants everyone to see it. In chapter 13, the people of town have started to interpret the “A” on her chest as “able” instead of its original meaning, “adulterer.” In a conversation with Roger Chillingworth, he mentions to Hester the town fathers have considered allowing her to remove the letter from her chest. She responds "It lies not in the pleasure of the magistrates to take off the badge, were I worthy to be quit of it, it would

The Character of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter

562 words - 2 pages The Character of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne, a character within The Scarlet Letter, is a prime example of Hawthorne's common transformation of individuals within his books. These mutations involve the qualities and attributes of her physical appearance, feminine emotions, and reputation among the townspeople. Throughout the novel, the mentioned elements of Hester's character develop and change several times, providing

A comparison of Prynne, Chillingworth, and Dimmesdale with emphasis on character and private feelings

606 words - 2 pages made the scarlet letter a cultural icon, and have created a literary classic. Through Nathaniel Hawthorne's words, people today are still mesmerized by the steadfastness of Hester Prynne, the ruthlessness of Roger Chillingworth, and the tortured soul of Arthur Dimmesdale.Hester Prynne, the tragic heroin of The Scarlet Letter, is the mother of a bastard child, Pearl. For her sin of adultery Hester was condemned to wear a scarlet "A" to publicize her

Was the punishment that Hester Prynne recieved in The Scarlet Letter a fair punishment?

534 words - 2 pages deserved to be punished for committing adultery, but wearing the scarlet letter "A" for her entire life was much too punitive.In the Puritan society in which Hester lived, it was not uncommon to be publicly humiliated as punishment for a sin. In fact, public humiliation was sometimes considered a light punishment. In chapter 1 of The Scarlet Letter, the women outside of the jailhouse discussed Hester's punishment. Most of the women in this scene agreed

Anti-transendental Beliefs Proved Through Descriptions Of Hester Prynne And Other Characters

605 words - 2 pages the down fall of Mr. Prynne and Mr. Dimmesdale. Her beauty makes her irresistible, which causes these men to sin. Mr. Roger Chillingworth, previously mentioned as Mr. Roger Prynne, is bent on revenge. Ever since he find out his wife has been engaged in an affair, he is cynical; he is certain he should know who has brought him shame. He changes his name and for years is quiet about Hester and his relationship. He is "thoughful for others

Good and Evil in Rappaccini and Chillingworth

985 words - 4 pages only reason to live. When Dimmesdale openly confesses to his affair with Hester, Chillingworth deteriorates:Nothing was more remarkable than the change which took place...after Dimmesdale's death, in the appearance and demeanor of the old man known as Roger Chillingworth. All his strength and energy...seemed at once to desert him; in so as much that he positively withered up...when...that evil principle [revenge] was left with no further

Similar Essays

Sins Of Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale, And Roger Chillingworth In The Scarlet Letter

2132 words - 9 pages The Sins of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a study of the effects of sin on the hearts and minds of the main characters, Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth. Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. Sin strengthens Hester, humanizes Dimmesdale, and turns Chillingworth into a demon. Hester Prynne’s sin was adultery. This sin was

"Two Scarlet Letters" Compares And Contrasts Hester And Dimmesdale's Scarlet Letters And Connects Them To Attitudes Of Puritan Society

651 words - 3 pages . This shows the arrogance, and false assumptions that society has about Hester--the idea that she is not a suitable mother because she is an adulterer.Dimmesdale is not chased down by society--he presses himself with the weight of its perverseness and assumptions. Chillingworth torments Dimmesdale and when he finds out that Dimmesdale is Hester's "partner-in-crime," he starts to worry about his reputation, and tries to stop Dimmesdale from

Roger Chillingworth And Injustice Essay

1326 words - 6 pages The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story based in the Puritan town of Boston about a young woman named Hester Prynne who committed adultery and was discovered by the Puritan government and religious authorities because she became pregnant and had a baby. Her punishment was 3 hours on the platform of the pillory at the market place, where no small amount of people watched her. She was also doomed to where a mark of her sin on

The Consequences Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter (Portrayed Through Hester, Chillingworth, And Dimmesdale

1540 words - 6 pages placing of a scarlet letter on her breast and public humiliation, while Dimmesdale does not confess to the sin and is spared public scorning for it. Instead, Dimmesdale must seek inner redemption through physical beatings and praying, with little success. Hawthorne utilizes his novel to trace the less visible, long-range effects of a sin such as adultery, in the harsh setting of Puritan society through Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, and