Essay on Puritans in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

513 Words 3 Pages
Over three centuries ago, Witch Trials plagued the thirteen colonies. Many men and women were tried based on flimsy evidence and eventually hung for their “crimes”. Being a sore spot in American History, Nathaniel Hawthorne felt the brunt of it. His great-great -grandfather, William Hathorne, was the judge during the famous Salem Witch Trials where he condemned and executed several citizens. On Nathaniel’s way to becoming a renowned author in the United States, Nathaniel changed his last name by adding a ‘w’ to distance himself from his family's past. He later published The Scarlet Letter, which can be described as an attack on the Puritan religion and their behavior. Nathaniel contrasts Puritan and Romantic characteristics to highlight the close minded thinking and behavior of the Religious community in the 1600’s, while allowing Hawthorne to expose the ignorance that enveloped his ancestors.
History has noted our love for conflict and tragedies, unwanted or not. Those who broke laws in the 1600’s were punished, and “…the fundamental rule was to follow God’s law.” (“Puritans Life”). While Hawthorne utilized Puritan characteristics by involving a Scaffold in the plot, while also including a romantic mother to be, “…they have doomed Mistress Prynne to stand only a space of three hours on the platform of the pillory, and then and thereafter , for the remainder of her natural life, wear a mark of shame upon her bosom.” (Hawthorne 60) For committing adultery…