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The Truth Behind Lies Essay

1413 words - 6 pages

Ones unwillingness to acknowledge what they have done wrong is like putting a mask on reality. The mask covers up the lies and wrong doings but can also be the answer to all errors and misunderstanding. The novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, emphasizes how sin and lies lead to humiliation and punishment. Hester Prynne was a young Puritan woman who committed adultery and was forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” next to her bosom. In spite of her sin Hester was blessed with a beautiful baby girl named Pearl. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale punished Hester for her error even though he too committed the same crime. Through the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne portrays hypocrisy as a sin that leads to great injuries. These injuries represent the internal guilt the individual carries with them throughout their life.
Since hypocrisy can lead to internal guilt, it emphasizes the idea of self- preservation because no one wants to endure the public shame in revealing their sin. Letting one’s reputation become important than one’s life can lead to many complications. Rev. Dimmesdale was too afraid of the punishment and humiliation he would have to face. So he kept the sin locked inside his heart. Hawthorne uses rhetorical strategies such as tone to communicate an attitude towards the subject. He also uses diction which refers to his word choice to emphasize the meaning of the quote. Rev. Dimmesdale talks Pearl out of her idea in standing out in front of the public to confess his sin. The thought of “the dread of public exposure” had the “anguish” built inside him quickly returned. He was already “trembling at the conjunction” in which he found himself (126- 127). The tone in this passage is anguish and afraid because he is absolutely terrified of “public exposure”. The diction in the passage gives it a deeper meaning Hawthorne uses words like dread, exposure, anguish, and conjunction. These rhetorical strategies express how selfish and a coward Dimmesdale is. Rev. Dimmesdale is hypocrite because his is not admitting the truth and rather live in lies. He is also a coward because he does not want to endure the suffering Hester has gone through.
While guilt can torment an individual internally it can also lead into a creation of lies because they cannot be exposed or tortured for them. When one lies it creates a web of lies that one has to continue to lie in order to cover up for the previous lie. Then one starts to actually believe those lies and lives in a fake world. Rev. Dimmesdale pretended he had nothing to do with Hester and Pearl and created a world for himself where he views himself as holy and important. But that guilt of his crime never left him and Hester was a constant reminder of that. Hawthorne uses rhetorical strategies such as paradox to point out an apparent contradiction. He also uses appeal to reason to provoke the audience to respond in a particular way or to tap into the reader’s values. Hester is talking about their sin and how it...

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