Witchcraft In The Scarlet Letter Essay

851 words - 3 pages

The Scarlet Letter Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne continually uses witchcraft and the devil as a theme. Hester Prynne, the main character, emerges from a prison in the first few pages of the book. So from the very beginning, it is known that she has committed a great sin of some kind. Many other characters other than Hester also have a connection with the dark side. It is this association with the devil that eventually brings about the demise of one of the major characters. Although most of the characters are trying to repent during this story, there is still a link between them and the devil throughout the story.Hester Prynne was guilty of adultery. In the Puritan colony of Boston, adultery was punishable by a brief prison sentence, time standing on a scaffold in front of all the townspeople, and finally the requirement of bearing a scarlet colored A on your clothing. This letter would act as a constant reminder of the offense committed against God. Hester was generally a good person who believed in and feared God, " Thy Heavenly Father sent thee!" (Hawthorne, 99) "She was self-ordained a Sister of Mercy"¦" (156). However, she gave into temptation, and in this devout culture, an act such as this was viewed as a pact with the devil. There is evidence that Hester freely would have turned to the devil if it weren't for Pearl, "Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine own blood" (116). This shows how Pearl helped save her from the devil, even at a young age.The devil is seen in Pearl more than any other character. She is after all, the product of infidelity. From a very young age, it was obvious that she was not an ordinary child, ""¦this freakish, elvish cast came into the child's eyes"¦It was a face, fiendlike, full of smiling malice"¦it was as if an evil spirit possessed the child"¦" (98). When asked where she came from, she replied that her mother had picked her from the rose bush by the prison, despite knowing the correct answer. Instead of communicating with other children, Pearl chose to scream shrilly and throw rocks at them. At times she acted as though she were truly possessed, "She accompanied this wild outbreak with piercing shrieks, which the woods reverberated on all sides"¦" (198). When Pearl was in the woods with Hester, she was...

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