This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Scarlet Letter Essay

1120 words - 4 pages

Do people confess to a sin even if they might be punished for it? This is the question plaguing Arthur Dimmesdale. He cannot tell anybody about his sin because he is too weak. He thinks that if he tells the Puritans that he is Hester's lover they will all start treating him like an outcast and that terrifies him. Because of this weakness, Dimmesdale thinks of ways to make himself feel better. He first tries to get Hester to tell the Puritans, but that does not work. Then he starts mutilating himself, and in the end he just collapses and gives up. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Arthur Dimmesdale loses and suffers the most because he is too weak to confess his sin and to be looked down upon.Dimmesdale is too weak to confess his sins and therefore he misses out on some of the best parts of life. As Dimmesdale is in the forest talking to Hester, Hawthorne writes, "He sank down on to the ground, and buried his face in his hands"(169). The image of Dimmesdale sinking into the ground shows that he is not physically strong enough to hold himself up. This image suggests that Dimmesdale is moving closer towards evil and away from society, because the ground is close to hell, and hell is where people suffer the most. While Dimmesdale is falling to the ground he buries his face in his hands. Burying one's face in one's hands is a sign of weakness. Dimmesdale cannot show his face after what he has done, and this action shows his suffering. He cannot tell people what he did and feels shameful because of it. Dimmesdale's suffering is a simple case of cause and effect. If Dimmesdale had not been so weak as to be ashamed of his past, his current condition would not be so horrible.Dimmesdale wants to tell the Puritans that he is Hester's lover, but he is too scared. He is so weak that he tries to get Hester to tell them for him but she will not. Dimmesdale says: "I charge thee to speak out the name of the fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent"¦ Hester, though he were to step down from a high place and stand beside thee, on a pedestal of shame"¦" (62). Dimmesdale is already feeling the pain of his mistake. If he did not feel bad about the sin he committed, he would not want Hester to tell the Puritans of his wrong doings. He wants Hester to tell the Puritans that he was the "fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer" so he will not have to suffer alone. Dimmesdale knows that not telling the Puritans is wrong and it will cost him in the end, but he is weak. If he were stronger, then he could have told the Puritans himself. Because Hester does not tell the Puritans Dimmesdale was her lover, he ends up suffering even more than he would have had the news come out when Hester was still on the scaffold, because not telling anyone just prolonged his suffering. When Dimmesdale talks about "a pedestal of shame" he is trying to show how horrible the sin Hester and her "fellow-sinner" committed that everyone should get to scold them...

Find Another Essay On Scarlet Letter

Scarlet Letter Essay

2462 words - 10 pages After the death of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s character Dimmesdale from the book the Scarlet Letter, there have been many theories about the cause of his death. Some literary analyzers claim that his guilt was the cause of his death. Others say that Roger Chillingworth, a physician, poisoned him with Atropine and Scopolamine. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale’s guilt appears to be the cause of his death, but his

Scarlet Letter Essay

775 words - 3 pages people remembering them when suddenly there is an avalanche. They all run out of the house and get killed by the falling rocks. The rocks completely missed the house but the people were never found in the rubble around the house. Most writers have a style in which they write and they follow this style through all their works. Nathaniel Hawthorne is no exception to this. In the Scarlet Letter and in The Ambitious Guest Hawthorne uses the same

"Scarlet letter"

1369 words - 5 pages The Scarlet Letter takes place in the Puritan Mass Bay Colonies, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and centers on Hester Prynne. Hester is an outsider in her puritan community, because she has committed a horrific crime in her neighbor's eyes. She has broken one of the Ten Commandments adultery, and is therefore going to hell. She has an illegitimate child outside of her marriage and this child has no known father. As such, the puritan leaders

"Scarlet Letter"

3207 words - 13 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne's background influenced him to write the bold novel "The Scarlet Letter". One important influence on the story is money. Hawthorne had never made much money as an author and the birth of his first daughter added to the financial burden ("Biographical Note" VII). He received a job at the Salem Custom House only to lose it three years later and be forced to write again to support his family (IX). Consequently, The Scarlet

Scarlet letter

720 words - 3 pages Shame vs. DignityIn the classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores a Puritan society that turns the idea of moral discipline into a hypocritical act of judgment. Through the contrast of Hester Prynne and the townspeople, Hawthorne demonstrates the power of oppression through scapegoating. Though the townspeople initially succeed in dehumanizing Hester through shame, her perseverance proves the conquering power of human

Scarlet Letter

1105 words - 4 pages Weak and powerless are so me of the words that describe women’s role in Puritan society. Men were the breadwinners and women were confined to the household. Most women lived their lives under the authority of men, but because of her unusual place in society Hester was able to overcome this. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne switches the typical male and female roles to prove that when given the opportunity, women can be strong and

Scarlet Letter

1390 words - 6 pages The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a personal account of a Puritan woman, who is being tried for a sinful crime. This timeless classic, which is full of adultery, betrayal, promiscuity, subterfuge, and intrigue, would make a great coming attraction for a Hollywood movie not to mention a great storyline for this book. This literally masterpiece is set back in seventeenth-century Boston; this setting is the main character's problem

Scarlet Letter

1344 words - 6 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne constructs the plot of his novel The Scarlet Letter around two sinners and traces their journeys towards acceptance and belonging as they experience the effects of sin and guilt their individual ways, especially Arthur Dimmesdale who becomes increasingly guilt wrought throughout the novel. Dimmesdale’s steep decline under the weight of his sin essentially causes him to become trapped in a prison of guilt, his own “desert

scarlet letter

1014 words - 5 pages In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne portrays a society filled with betrayel, secrecie, and sinners. The people of society do not show their true colors and hide their true intentions. Dimmsdale, Chillingsworth and Hester all have fallen to sin, however they all believe they are not the worse sinner and try to seek justice for themselves. Hester Prynne had been tainted with sin once she had committed the crimme of

Scarlet Letter - 794 words

794 words - 3 pages Power of Sin       In “The Scarlet Letter” Nathaniel Hawthorne presents three main characters that commit evil and sinful acts, where each act is at a different degree of sinfulness. These three sinners (in the eyes of the Puritan community) are: the beautiful Hester Prynne, the esteemed Reverend Dimmesdale, and the cold-hearted doctor Roger Chillingworth. Hawthorn believes that evil is the nature of man but that there

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1257 words - 6 pages Hester Prynne has committed a crime that is hard to Discussdiscuss. She has started a huge scandal in the small community of from which she comes from. She committed the crime of adultery. She was tried and sentenced to wear the scarlet letter “A” Which which stands for adultery. She is forced to be publicly shamed for what she has done. The scarlet letter “A” is aan important symbol in this story . It symbolizes a different thing something

Similar Essays

Scarlet Letter Essay

1106 words - 4 pages Scarlett Letter ? In the Scarlet Letter, the author uses many different types of symbols to show what he has experienced as a young man, and what he has to say about the society during his time. The different settings of the story are ways in which he describes his environment and how it has treated him as a child. One symbol he uses a lot was the scarlet letter. The scarlet letter takes on different meanings as the course of the story

Scarlet Letter Essay 875 Words

875 words - 4 pages In his book, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates themes of life. Through the use of his literary devices, he demonstrates or emphasizes a theme of adultery through his use of setting through the market place and the forest. As well as his use of symbolism through Pearl, Hawthorne illustrates the theme of adultery. In this paper I intend to demonstrate the theme of adultery through setting and symbolism, in The Scarlet Letter, by

Scarlet Letter Essay 1304 Words

1304 words - 5 pages The Scarlet Letter, the roles have been reversed. Pearl helps Hester and Dimmesdale reach their goal of salvation by rewarding and punishing their actions. However, because Hester and Dimmesdale are at different stages on their road to salvation Pearl treats them differently. Hester Prynne needs to be reminded and punished, and Dimmesdale needs to be urged to take the initial step towards confession.Even as a baby, Pearl tormented Hester. During

Scarlet Letter Essay

731 words - 3 pages In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is prosecuted for committing adultery. Initially the townspeople are disgusted and outraged by her abhorrent deed however as the story progresses, the Puritan society begin to respect Hester Prynne and in the eyes of the people she transforms from 'adulterer' to 'able'. The Puritan society regarded Hester as a failure as a mother, wife and representative of her sex. However