That Nathaniel Hawthorne to chose such a controversial topic as adultery for The Scarlet Letter, his nineteenth century novel of "seventeenth century sexual repression and hypocrisy" (Zabarenko PG), demonstrates a delicate yet changing climate with regard to infidelity.
Historically, carrying on an adulterous affair back in such an era of Puritanism and traditional values was not taken lightly; in fact, by today's standards, such horrific treatment for what is now considered an everyday occurrence was more harsh than murders suffer by current standards.
Those who acted out of the vows of matrimony centuries ago, as Hester Prynne did in The Scarlet Letter, paid a high price for their momentary pleasures of the flesh. In those days, the …show more content…
In truth, they had little patience for much display of immorality at all, which ultimately became misinterpreted as a complete and total abhorrence to sexuality of any kind. This was not true, however, yet their strict moral code did not bode well with outsiders, making them appear ultra conservative.
What is clear within the context of historical consideration is the emphasis placed upon judgement. To determine what is right for one yet not for another; to cast one's opinion over the entire populace as a painter might broadly stroke a blank canvass; to conclude that a person is wrong by the very act he commits behind closed doors, is to be harshly and unfairly judgmental.
Small town mentality is wracked with judgement. There is no escaping its suffocating presence. Historically, communities were one entity where the private business of everyone was worn much like the Scarlet Letter itself: out in the open for everyone to know.
There was no sense of privacy within a world of snoops and busy-bodies. Had there been even the slightest reprieve from such intrusions upon one's intimacy, it very well may be that Prynne's shameful act of adultery would have been judged by the one entity permitted to draw such a conclusion: God.
One of the most saddening aspects of The Scarlet Letter is its historically paralyzing approach when dealing with Prynne's extramarital affair. It was clear that she and Dimmesdale were in
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In The Scarlet Letter Hypocrisy is evident everywhere. The characters of Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and the very society that the characters lived in, were steeped in hypocrisy. Hawthorne was not subtle in his portrayal of the terrible sin of hypocrisy; he made sure it was easy to see the sin at work , at the same time however, parallels can be drawn between the characters of The Scarlet Letter and of today’s society.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the greatest American authors of the nineteenth century. He published his first novel Fanshawe, in 1828. However, he is widely known for his novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. His novel, The Scarlet Letter, can be analyzed from historical, psychological and feminist critical perspectives by examining his life from the past, as well as his reflections while writing The Scarlet Letter. In order to understand the book properly, it’s necessary to use these three perspectives.
Guilt, shame, and penitence are just a few of the emotions that are often associated with a great act of sin. Mr. Arthur Dimmesdale, a highly respected minister of a 17th century Puritan community, is true example of this as he was somehow affected by all of these emotions after committing adultery. Due to the seven years of torturous internal struggle that finally resulted in his untimely death, Mr. Dimmesdale is the character who suffered the most throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Mr. Dimmesdale’s ever present guilt and boundless penance cause him an ongoing mental struggle of remorse and his conscience as well as deep physical pain from deprivation and self inflicted wounds. The external influence of the members of
Both Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome provide an insight into the moral ideas that have shaped New England. One major theme of The Scarlet Letter that helps to portray this is the theme of Puritanism. The religious nature of the morality shaped the society’s reaction to Hester’s affair. A major theme of Ethan Frome that helps to portray this is the theme of duty and morality vs. desire. Ethan feels he has a moral duty to remain with his wife, Zeena, even though he truly desires to run away with Mattie. The ideas of morality presented in The Scarlet Letter and Ethan Frome are similar in that they both portray adultery as greatly immoral; however, they differ in the reason behind these ideas of morality.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibits how three very unique characters are evidently brought together by the sins that they have perpetrated and how they manage to perform acts of atonement in the puritanical Boston society. Hester Prynne sins by committing the shocking transgression of adultery. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, who as well engages in adultery with Hester, abandons her and their daugher because of his own cowardice and hypocrisy. Roger Chillingworth grows to become a maleficent being who tries to corrupt the very soul of Reverend Dimmesdale. Although Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale do sin greatly, it is Roger Chillingworth who sins to the most ferocious degree.
‘Honesty is the best policy’; ‘Always be yourself”, are common phrases many parents tell their children and as common as they may be, being honest and being true yourself contributes to individual happiness and contentness. ‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that dives deep into these key themes of honesty and integrity and the consequences of doing the opposite action. One of the main characters, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is a minister in 17th century Puritan New England who has deteriorating health because of his lies and guilt. Dimmesdale commits adultery with a beautiful woman in the town, Hester Prynne, whose husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns from Europe later on. Pearl, who is a product of Hester and
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, is a compassionate yet riveting piece of English literature that supports the movement for equality of suppressed women during a most tumultuous time during the 1800’s. Hawthorne’s use of emotional diction and imagery throughout his novel employs a deplorable tone upon the story. It serves as a stark representation of an imaginative yet realistic example of the indifference of men and women during these changing times. Deeply held Puritanical beliefs led countless of people to believe that individuals, especially women, who committed sins of any type would never reach heaven upon their passing. Men, on the other hand, were judged less severely if accused of a crime. Hester Prynne, the
“These scholars note that Victorians often bowed to conformity, concealing their true natures and tastes and pretending to adhere to social norms. Some Victorians passed themselves off as more pious or moral than they really were. But in reality, pornographic literature and prostitution were common phenomena during the late nineteenth century, showing that some Victorians only pretended to lead chaste lives.”(Joyce Moss)
In D. H. Lawrence’s essay “On The Scarlet Letter,” Lawrence analyzes Nathaniel Hawthorne’s portrayal of the adulteress Hester Prynne. He argues that Hester’s character is not worthy of the praise she receives in The Scarlet Letter because of the severity of the sin she commits in the novel. Instead of focusing on Hester’s character after the sin, he bases his argument on the sin itself. Lawrence uses terse syntax, an accusatory tone, and biblical allusions to depict Hester as the sinner of the story.
Secrets can destroy even the most respected people. Sometimes is not the secret itself that drives people into exhaustion, but the emotional baggage that comes with it. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Dimmesdale physically deteriorates because of his guilt caused by a dishonorable sin. The Puritan society in which the story is set discourages the idea of the private self, which Hawthorne shows by creating distinctions between the characters’ private and public lives, specifically Dimmesdale’s.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a man who was both plagued and absorbed by the legacy of the Puritans in New England. He was related to John Hathorne, a Puritan judge during the infamous Salem Witch trials of 1692. In The Scarlet Letter, his fictional account of mid-17th century Boston presents an opportunity to examine different themes commonly associated with Puritans. Particularly the nature of sin, personal identity and the repression of natural urges are themes that appear repeatedly through the novel. While his account of this time period may not be completely historically accurate, it is indicative of the persistent thematic influence of Puritan culture on American and New England society.
Novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his fictional novel, “The Scarlet Letter”, expresses a story about a young woman, Hester Prynne, back in the 1600s who was convicted of adultery and must now wear a big “A” on her chest to show those in the small Massachusetts Bay colony the sin she has committed. Hawthorne’s purpose is to illustrate the hardships Hester must go through for committing such act in the small colony where religion was put first. Hawthorne adopts a serious and pitiful tone throughout the novel to get the adult readers to sympathize with the main character, Hester Prynne. Though this book was written back in the 1800s and is based off a woman who’s shamed for adultery, this book can still relate to today’s world with some of
Fulfilling the image of a corrupt and sinful world, society devalues women and demeans their existences, oppressing them into a world of submissiveness and destruction. The patriarchy not only have detrimental effects on women, but the entire world as well. However, women have always exhibit strength and development despite the lack of opportunities, and they reveal the virtuousness of moral character. In the 19th century dark romantic novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne reveals the atrocities of the patriarchy and masculine hegemony in society and thereby perceive women as the current redeemer of humankind’s sin. He, thereby, urges individuals to deter from the idea of women solely carrying the burdens of humankind’s sin and to
In this century, the 3 categories of classes couldn’t be more different and separated. The upper class enjoyed leisure, operas, balls and everything what had to do something with luxury and what none of the lower classes could afford. Aristocracy was well known by their morals and etiquette in the Victorian ages. The Victorian Aristocratic views on morals were extinguished which was even prudish. Prudery went as far as sexuality was a taboo, human body must have been covered and talking about body was inappropriate. In the Victorian Era society started to have different values in morality. Upper class people had low tolerance for sexuality and crimes, and isolated from any of the lower class members. Thus sexuality, especially prostitution was not acceptable and eminently discriminates in the Victorian high society.
In “The Scarlet Letter,” Hawthorne presents the consequences of sin as an important aspect in the lives of Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingsworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale. The sin committed, adultery, between Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale had resulted in the birth of their innocent little girl, Pearl. This sin ruined the three main characters’ lives completely in different ways. With the sin committed, there were different ways the characters reacted to it: embracing the sin, concealing the sin, and becoming obsessed and consumed with it. With each reaction to the sin there were also different actions of redemption.