Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1158 Words 5 Pages
Sigmund Freud, creator of the Freudian psychoanalysis, once said about hypocrisy, “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.” This is essentially Freud’s loose definition of hypocrisy, a term that the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the characters’ hypocrisy represents the pervasiveness of hypocrisy in all people. Hypocrisy is evident in all of The Scarlet Letter’s main characters: Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, the town of Boston, and Pearl.
One of the main characters in the novel, Hester, shows the pervasiveness of hypocrisy with her own hidden
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Sigmund Freud, creator of the Freudian psychoanalysis, once said about hypocrisy, “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.” This is essentially Freud’s loose definition of hypocrisy, a term that the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the characters’ hypocrisy represents the pervasiveness of hypocrisy in all people. Hypocrisy is evident in all of The Scarlet Letter’s main characters: Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, the town of Boston, and Pearl.
One of the main characters in the novel, Hester, shows the pervasiveness of hypocrisy with her own hidden hypocrisy and the implications it suggests. In Chapter 13, we learn about Hester’s changes seven years after the initial scaffold scene. In particular, we learn that she believes “the whole of society” needs to be torn down and “built up anew” to allow women to assume “a fair and suitable position,” (114). Despite this ideology, she does nothing throughout the entire novel to equalize herself. Hester never seizes on the opportunity to leave the strict Puritan society that is restricting her freedoms, which is a clear indicator that she can’t act on her innermost beliefs and thoughts. Even worse, Hester becomes reattached to the town of Boston, and is even pardoned and assumes a traditional feminist role of an embroiderer. Hester’s radical
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