The Worst Of Them All. An Essay On "The Scarlet Letter" By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1273 words - 5 pages

In 'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne, many characters sin. However, Arthur Dimmesdale, the church priest, commits the worst sins. Hester Prynne commits several sins, but none are even comparable to Dimmesdale's sins. Even Roger Chillingworth's sins, spawned by pure hatred, pale in comparison the sins of Arthur Dimmesdale.Hester Prynne was unfaithful to her husband, Roger Chillingworth. She commits adultery with Arthur Dimmesdale, and for her sins she is forced to wear a scarlet letter, professing her sin to all. As bad as her sin was, she confesses it, and receives absolution. After her confession, she bears her punishment alone, even when the entire town is calling for her to reveal the other guilty party. She remains faithful to Arthur Dimmesdale, a commendable quality. Even when Dimmesdale himself beseeches her to reveal the sinner, she steadfastly refuses in silence.The Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale bend his head, in silent prayer, as it seemed, and then came forward.'Hester Prynne,' said he, leaning over the balcony, and looking down stedfastly into her eyes, 'thou hearest what this good man says...I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow sufferer!'....So powerful seemed the minister's appeal, that the people could not believe but that Hester Prynne would speak out the guilty name...Hester shook her head. (61-62)Had she exposed Dimmesdale's sin, her punishment would have been lessened. Instead of selfishly revealing Dimmesdale as the other sinner, and decreasing her punishment, she takes on both of their punishments, and wears the letter until she leaves the town.Hester receives punishment for her sin. Once the scarlet letter is placed on her breast, she stops sinning. Her greatest sins after receiving punishment were not revealing Dimmesdale's identity. Even this sin, meager, was done not to help herself, but to save Dimmesdale's life and career. Had Hester revealed Dimmesdale as the other sinner, he would have been ruined. This cannot be considered a sin. She sacrifices herself so that Dimmesdale can continue to help the town. Her failure to reveal Dimmesdale's identity allows a brilliant preacher to continue to help the town.Roger Chillingworth is Hester's jealous husband. His identity remains unknown to the town. This deceit is done not to allow him to more easily destroy Dimmesdale, but to save Hester. If he revealed himself as her husband, she would die. But because it is possible that he died at sea, she was not hanged. Although later it becomes advantageous for his identity to remain unknown, when he makes the decision to remain anonymous, he is doing it to help his wife. This could not be considered sinful. Later on, when he uses his anonymity to his advantage, he is wrong, but at the time he makes the decision to remain unknown as Hester's husband he is only trying to help.His destruction of Arthur Dimmesdale was clearly his worst sin. The torture he inflicts on Dimmesdale would not have been incurred...

Find Another Essay On The Worst of Them All. An essay on "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay on "The Scarlet Letter" by Hawthorne

1356 words - 5 pages In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne's scarlet token liberates her more than it punishes her. First of all, Hester's soul is freed by her admission of her crime; by enduring her earthly punishment, Hester is assured of a place in the heavens. Also, though her appearance is much hampered by the scarlet letter, her mind is freed by it, that an intellectual passion rises from her isolation and suffering. Finally, it defines

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1023 words - 4 pages symbol of the novel is the actual scarlet letter ‘A’ that Hester wears on her chest every day, but Hawthorne also uses Hester’s daughter Pearl and their surroundings as symbols as well. Allegory is present as well in The Scarlet Letter and is created through the character types of several characters in the novel. The Scarlet Letter is a fictional novel that begins with an introductory passage titled ‘The Custom-House’. This passage gives a

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1206 words - 5 pages Thomas Hobbs and John Locke have two very opposing viewpoints on human nature. Locke believes that human nature is innately good; Hobbs thinks that human nature knows right from wrong, but is naturally evil and that no man is entirely “good”. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the classic novel The Scarlet Letter, believes that every man is innately good and Hawthorne shows that everyone has a natural good side by Hester’s complex character

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

934 words - 4 pages , there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!’” (Hawthorne, 70). This shows that even from a young age, the puritans were taught that a sinner should be ostracized and tormented. The final point Hawthorne uses to show others view on someone’s actions is the acceptance of Hester and the legend of the scarlet letter. “But, in the laps of the toilsome, thoughtful, and self

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1358 words - 5 pages In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the strong values of the puritans in the 17th century through the townsmen and women. Religion was a way of life for the puritans. Their values interjected in their emotions, attitudes, actions, and speech. Hester Prynne committed adultery, which defies the puritan’s beliefs. By examining the punishments that were given to Hester, Hawthorne is able to continue to emphasize the puritan

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 1227 words

1227 words - 5 pages “A bloody scourge…rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance.” (Hawthorne, 141) In the Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Minister Dimmesdale starved himself, whipped himself, and tortured himself to get rid of the guilt caused by his sin with Hester Prynne. Hawthorne describes the minister’s guilt as the evil that anchored him down and shows how Dimmesdale tortures himself but can never get rid of it. His

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 2096 words

2096 words - 8 pages , Hester abandons all the morals of her society, because, here, the scarlet letter represents society's influence on her. Similar in the way Nature has caused detriment to Hester’s life, Dimmesdale attests to similar misfortunes in his life. For example, Dimmesdale very much so enjoys the benefits of taking in "free air" (133) while surrounded by Nature. However, the text insists that the air is "too fresh and chill to be long breathed with

The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

566 words - 2 pages Unlike modern authors, Nathaniel Hawthorne is more concerned with what sin causes rather than what causes sin. In his stories, such as The Scarlet Letter, this is especially present. The focus of the plot is not how or why Hester chose to have an affair with Dimmesdale, but what happened to the two as a result. The setting of the story is set after the sin has already been committed, lasting several years after to show the affects of the sinners

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

2233 words - 9 pages Through the character of Arthur Dimmesdale, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the main concepts he intends for the audience to grasp of The Scarlet Letter, such as the effects of guilt on an individual, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and the conflict of individual versus self. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne emphasizes Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s downfall as a character, and what kinds of effects the guilt as a partner in

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

996 words - 4 pages the sin he commits. He doesn’t feel guilt until the end of the novel, where he died on the scaffold after Dimmesdale since he didn’t have a purpose in life anymore. This can be seen as his forgiveness, and that he felt the guilt from pushing Dimmesdale to death. All in all, all of the characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter had experienced sin, guilt, and forgiveness whether it was apparent to the reader’s or not. Dealing with many

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 1020 words

1020 words - 4 pages Is it acceptable to neglect one’s crimes and move on, or is it better to openly confess yourself in front of your peers? In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, the main character, Arthur Dimmesdale, experiences both ends of the question. From initially disregarding the need to repent for his sin, his figure and character drastically change. By repenting in the wrong ways, Dimmesdale’s character continues to worsen until he finally

Similar Essays

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Characterization Essay

1654 words - 7 pages she was forced to do by being made to wear the scarlet letter. Prynne is a play on the word prim, and also the phrase, "prim and proper," which Hester isn't in the eyes of the Puritan community, since she had an extramarital affair with Dimmesdale. It also relates to how Puritan society is "prim and proper," not allowing much expression or rebelliousness. Hawthorne uses this name because it helps describe what occurred in Hester Prynne's life

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne 939 Words

939 words - 4 pages questions that catch them off guard. She often acts like a little imp, causing trouble and acting in such ways that are looked down upon. Strangest of all, she has an obsessive connection with the scarlet letter “A”. Although Pearl as major of a character as Hester, it seems as though the whole novel revolves around her. After all, she is as close as one can get to a psychic seven year old. Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam, 2003. Print.

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne 1061 Words

1061 words - 5 pages Bloom, has his own thoughts on judgement. “At one level of our response, the seventh commandment remains real enough. But what he urges far more strongly is the outrage to both human privacy and human conscience perpetrated by the enforced “unpardonable” Puritan practice of exposure and enforced confession” (Bloom 33). In an earlier chapter, Bloom critiques Hawthorne on his use of The Scarlet Letter as an outlet for his opinions. “ Here as

"The Scarlet Letter" By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1152 words - 5 pages To read a book, is to plunge into a dark abyss, not knowing what is next and not knowing if or when an end is near. But just words written on paper do not do this to one's mind. A book needs creativity, imagination, it needs to make the mind think and wonder what is actually happening. A book needs to stretch away from reality, or just put a weird twist to it. One way of doing that is shown in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne