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

Scarlet Letter Essay

1526 words - 7 pages

Even Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers of all time, had trouble answering this age-old question: what’s in a name? Are we defined by our given names, our nicknames, or by our personalities and actions, especially the mistakes we make? Nathaniel Hawthorne explores this idea with the characters in his novel, The Scarlet Letter. In contrast to modern-day Boston, Hawthorne depicts a time period where there were no deadlier sins than the lust for revenge, corruptness(especially in high society), and the overwhelmingly evident act of adultery. Vengefulness is still prominent in today’s society, but there is next to no one who showcases such a need for revenge than Roger Chillingworth. A ...view middle of the document...

Even though he used to love his beautiful wife, it is clear now he feels nothing but the lust for revenge, at both Hester and her lover. A few years past Hester’s first ignominy, Chillingworth is named town physician and takes on the role of Dimmesdale's caretaker, and somehow this has changed him. It is said of his features that, “His expression had once been calm, scholar-like, now there was something ugly and evil in his face that had not been previously noticed”(126). Chillingworth's expression changes and his depravity increases soon after he starts to suspect that Dimmesdale is Hester’s fellow adulterer. Several clues lead him to this conclusion and the very thought seems to reveal his inner demons. At this same time, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale spend an inordinate amount of time together but Dimmesdale still will not confide in Chillingworth. Chillingworth will stop at nothing to get the truth that Dimmesdale refuses to give him. “Reverend Dimmesdale, fell into a deep, deep slumber... Then old, Roger Chillingworth, without any precaution, came into the room. After a brief pause, the physician turned away. But what with a wild look of wonder, joy, and horror! Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth at the moment of his ecstasy, he would have no need to ask how Satan comports himself into a precious human soul"(135). It is suggested the Reverend was drugged by Chillingworth because it would have been very capricious of him to fall asleep so soundly because of his recent insomnia. Chillingworth then finds some sort of incriminating evidence on Dimmesdale's body and is so overwhelmingly satisfied and equally as horrified, he seems to have been possessed by Satan. The omnipresent view of Chillingworth gives a detailed insight into the nature of his personal sin, but even secondary characters with little dialogue represent some sort of sin, representing just how unlawful the society was.

Even less prominent characters like Mistress Hibbins demonstrate their own sin, and the wickedness and corruptness of the governor’s demonic sister is showcased throughout the plot. After Hibbins invites Hester to a “witches’ brew”, Hester refuses because of her duty as a mother. This happens as Hester is leaving the Governor’s mansion and the narrator comments that, “Even thus early had the child saved her from Satan’s snare”(116). Pearl is saving her mother from Satan, who is symbolically represented by Hibbins because she is the devil of the community. This is an obvious comparison and in the Puritan town, there was no figure more evil and corrupt than the devil himself. After Hester and Dimmesdale make a plan to run away to England, Hester and Pearl emerge from the forest and encounter Hibbins. After a cryptic and creepy conversation between Hibbins and Hester, the witch turns to Pearl. “‘What is it, Good Mistress Hibbins?’, eagerly asked little Pearl. ‘They say, child, thou art the lineage of the Prince of the Air! Wilt thou ride with me, some fine...

Find Another Essay On Scarlet Letter Essay

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1521 words - 7 pages Adulteress, banished, condemned…words that flash across the minds of Boston citizens when viewing the scarlet letter ‘A’ that is afixed to Hester Prynne in the 17th century of Nathaniel Hawtorne’s novel. Is it a symbol worthy of scorn and judgment? In their hypocritical eyes, there is no doubt about that. A fallen woman deserves that shame she brings upon herself. Symbolism is a common literary element that is found repeatedly in The Scarlet

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1288 words - 6 pages not!”(p. 78, paragraph 2) said one of the hypocritical old women. This was the judgment that poor Hester Prynne had to stand in front of… Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is one of the most well-recognized books of all time. It has become standard reading material in English classes across the country, and it is not hard to see why. Most of the book is composed of different symbols, or concrete objects that represent something more than

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1401 words - 6 pages "In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it (84)." What is found evident in this quote concerning Hester Prynne, Hawthorne’s main protagonist, in The Scarlet Letter is that while she suffers so on the opening scaffold scene, it is but human nature to bless the individual with

The Scarlet Letter Essay - 1400 words

1400 words - 6 pages the door opens. In steps the bulk of the head prison guard. “Get up” he shouts, “Outside, let’s move.” Stepping outside in the first light seen in months the man covers his eyes because of the brightness. The guard gives a shove as he says, “Let’s move.” The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is filled with symbolic elements. Three very important symbols are the imposing scaffold, alternating letter ‘A’ and the characters themselves Hester

The Scarlet Letter essay

1334 words - 6 pages Throughout history people have been shaped by the society in which they live. Those who accept the imposed rules and regulations tend to embody and reflect many of the characteristics of the society that guides them. However, those who do not conform and refuse the norms of society are often isolated from the contrasting group. Authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne have explored this concept through literature. In his novel, The Scarlet Letter

Scarlet Letter Essay

1416 words - 6 pages “Burn the witch!” has been a condemning cry for centuries, but those flames are not always real. Words, looks, and guilt can burn a sinner far more effectively than the pyre ever could, as evidenced by the torments inflicted on the sinners in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each of the characters was burned in a different way, just as they represent different types of sin. Hester Prynne, the adulteress, represents open

scarlet letter essay

1331 words - 6 pages Sigmund Freud, creator of the Freudian psychoanalysis, once said about hypocrisy, “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.” This is essentially Freud’s loose definition of hypocrisy, a term that the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the characters’ hypocrisy

Scarlet Letter Essay

587 words - 3 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing style is distinctly put into the Romantic styled writing category for many reasons. Hawthorne demonstrates his style by using many romantic elements throughout the novel. Characters and romantic elements are used to represent the ongoing battle between good and evil. Characters like Hester Prynne represent the side of good (although she has committed adultery) and Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth represent the evil. By

The Scarlet Letter Essay - 1009 words

1009 words - 5 pages The symbol of the scaffold evolves in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet letter is build around the symbolic scaffold. The main characters transform the scaffold from the exposition to resolution. Next the traits of the scaffold itself deteriorate throughout the novel. Finally, the scaffold is applied symbolically throughout Hawthorne’s novel. The scaffold transforms throughout the book

The Scarlet Letter Essay - 1005 words

1005 words - 5 pages ) The reoccurring deteriorating scaffold Pearl Prynne, and the rosebush and ugly weeds are reoccurring symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” Hawthorne’s characters symbolically transform the scaffold from beginning to end of the novel. Next the three scaffold scenes physically deteriorate with an underlying symbolic tone. Finally, the symbolic use of the scaffold throughout The Scarlet Letter leaves a lasting impression of its

Scarlet Letter Essay

988 words - 4 pages All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. -Isaiah 64:6 Everyone sins, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, Created characters representing forms of sin that everyone commits either consciously or unconsciously.The bible makes it known that we can get swept up in our lives and emotions and this is

Similar Essays

The Scarlet Letter Analytical Essay

1113 words - 5 pages The Scarlet Letter Analytical Essay Along with the other elements, the setting plays a major role in the furthering of the plot in almost every book. Especially in The Scarlet Letter, there are many factors that go into the setting of the book. The setting and the correlation of the weather to the mood of the characters plays a prominent role in the furthering of the plot; the actual time period and setting of the story and the specific

The Scarlet Letter: Movie Vs Book Compare And Contrast Essay

705 words - 3 pages English teachers still wake up screaming in a cold sweat to memories of the infamous Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter. It has all the hallmarks of a high-end product: lush visuals, a classic novel at its source, a prestigious director, Roland Joffe, and a talented cast that includes Gary Oldman, Robert Duvall, and Joan Plowright. And yet somehow, this flick couldn't have missed the literary adaptation mark more. The differences between

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1114 words - 5 pages Shirley Chisholm said, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’” Chisholm’s quote perfectly demonstrates Puritan society which, as any society, is centered on labels and stereotypes with almost everybody being shoved into a group and having their fate decided based upon their stereotype. In The Scarlet Letter, while the local village views Hester through the Puritan image that

The Scarlet Letter Essay 1257 Words

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