Sin and Redemption
Throughout literature, the theme of sin and redemption has been extremely important. This theme is shown in many classic stories such as The Minister’s Black Veil, The Crucible, Sinners in the hands of an angry God, and in the biblical tale of King David. The puritans believed in predestination and as a result, were always looking for signs that God had chosen them. If they sinned, it could be interpreted that they would go to hell, meaning redemption would be impossible. However, the idea of a forgiving god is widely accepted in today’s Christian religions. The theme of Sin and Redemption can only be developed once a character commits a seemingly unforgivable sin which they then try to right.
To begin, The Minister’s Black Veil is a good example of the theme of sin and redemption. The story focuses greatly on the subject of the secret sins of others and implies that everyone is hiding sins and soon their judgment day will come when the chance for redemption will be too late. This is shown when the minister says, “the hour will come, when all of us shall cast aside our veils”, (pg.343 Hawthorn, Nathaniel). The black veil had a huge impact on the townspeople, causing them to be afraid for what it truly stood for, and what they did not want to admit. The tale ends with the minister dying and the black veil never being removed from his face.
Another good example is The Crucible. The story was inhabited by an extremely strict puritan colony which of course meant the idea of redemption nearly impossible unless the officials of the church saw an opportunity to allow a church member the chance for redemption. The theme is clearly shown in the relationships between John and Abigail and John and Elizabeth. John regretted his affair with Abigail and longed for a chance at redemption with his wife Elizabeth. However, Elizabeth found herself not ready to forgive John for his sin shown when he says, “Spare me! You forget nothing and forgive nothing.” (The Crucible pg. 1270) Abigail also refuses to leave the situation alone when she tells John, “You loved me then and you do now.” (The Crucible pg. 1246) John battles with his emotions of guilt throughout the story and finds that he must let himself be led to his death in order to find peace.
An equally important work is the speech Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards. This speech paint everyone as terrible sinners whom God is angry with and will strike down at any moment yet is only keeping them alive for his pleasure. Edwards says,
“The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made...