Honesty, Integrity, and Consequences in the Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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‘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…show more content…
Dimmesdale kept his act of deceit up for 7 years and the town suspected nothing and admired him for his good ‘godly’ character. ‘The fasts and vigils of which he made a frequent practice, in order to keep the grossness of this earthly state from clogging and obscuring his spiritual lamp. Some declared, that if Mr. Dimmesdale were really going to die, it was cause enough that the world was not worthy to be any longer trodden on by his feet’(Hawthorne 113). Dimmesdale led the townspeople to believe that his fasts were for religious purposes and not him punishing himself. Ministers are supposed to set an example of how to live a holy life, Dimmesdale deceives people and lets them think his actions are for God when infact he is actually punishing himself for being a hypocrite. Not being honest has its serious lethal consequences internally and causes confusion in the heart of who a person really is under the lies. In the novel, Dimmesdale is not only deceiving others by hiding the truth but is also deceiving himself which leads to him having inner confusion of his true nature. Hester and Dimmesdale are in the forest going over their plans to run away when

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