Moral Ambiguity By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1291 WordsDec 11, 20156 Pages
Natalie Harris AP English Language and Composition 12/1/2015 Ms. Burridge Moral Ambiguity Nathaniel Hawthorne, as an admirer of psychology, uses a distinctive theme of moral ambiguity amongst his characters in the novel The Scarlet Letter. The characters, in particular Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth, are rather difficult to classify as either good or bad; they are simply human. Hawthorne’s moral ambiguity amongst these characters makes them more relatable to real human beings and serves as a clear portrayal of the complex human psyche. One can not be defined as simply bad or good; humans are much more complex than these two binary words which is why Hawthorne’s realization of moral ambiguity is quite profound. The main character, Hester Prynne, is publicly shamed for adultery and forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest. Although one might view Hester as an evil character considering that she has committed a rather unbearable sin in the eyes of 1650 Boston, she is not at all a bad person. Though she commits one of the worst sins for a woman, she is not entirely unvirtuous. Though Hester is punished by being forced to wear the scarlet letter, she turns the letter “A” into more than adultery. “Such helpfulness was found in her, - so much power to do, and power to sympathize, - that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength”

More about Moral Ambiguity By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Open Document