“But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose.”(174). According to the legal statutes and the prevailing sentiment of keeping in accordance with a strict interpretation of the Bible, adultery is a capital sin that requires the execution of both adulterer and adulteress. The Scarlet Letter contains little glee and hopefulness. It is densely constructed in the dark with a single spot of vivid color. The theme of private sin versus public morality in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter creates internal conflict Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale with the reflection of the imagination.
Puritanism ,as a word, is not only placed objectively, as Hawthorne did , but subjectively as well. Not in the judgment of harsh prejudice of his characters, or in the obtrusion of a moral lesson, but in the very quality of his own vision , in the tone of his imagery, in a coldness and exclusiveness of treatment. The puritan community is ruled through a strict theocracy. The Puritans believed that following the exact teachings of God made them great and superior. If one followed these teachings and shared the belief than they were considered “pure” or a Puritan. If one rejected these teachings or denied these beliefs as a part of their life they were considered to have been demoniacally possessed. To eliminate the act of being possessed one would have to admit to the crime of serving Satan and then the church expelled the demon from within. This confession would in turn taint the name of the accused , but if one did not confess they would be sentenced to hang or to be executed in some manner.
Public morality is composed of private morality. If a community as a whole agrees on the puritan interpretation of the Bible as God's teachings and one disagrees ,but does not express so he is considered to have privately sinned. Every time he hears the preaching of the bible as a weapon to scare the community into following the law he becomes conflicted because of his disagreement of the teachings but in the same wants to live among the community to fulfill his life with the comfort of his home and family. If he was to voice his conflict and problems he would no longer be a feudalist with private sin but public sin and would be punished.
Irony is a strong throughout The Scarlet Letter especially in the act of adultery that is shared between Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale. In the Puritan society ministers are to be this higher being with a direct link to God thus not being able to be influenced by Satan. Therefor being able to control their temptations and passions in way that can be expressed other than sin. However the affair that conceives Pearl proves that human nature can overcome any set of morals. The Puritan people are inculcated with fanatic ideas toward their religion that the people begin to believe the ruling class. The ministers use this as a sense of authority and control over the people. When Dimmesdale gives...