Romanticism in The Scarlet Letter

1596 Words Jan 3rd, 2009 7 Pages
A Puritans FollyNever forget that only dead fish swim with the stream. -Malcolm Muggeridge. This famous quote justifies that to be an individual, one must break from society and think for himself, and only when he has done this, is he truly alive. Nathaniel Hawthornes novel The Scarlet Letter is about a courageous woman, Hester Prynne, and her struggle to split from society in order to live the loving life she has always wanted. By the use of symbolism, Hawthorne is effectively able to portray the forest, which promotes individuality, and the town, which rewards conformity. The clothes portrayed by the Puritans, the town, are dull and plain whereas those expressed by the Romantics, the forest, are vivid and eccentric. Also, the various …show more content…
Even after the town has unfairly punished Hester, they still wish to punish her more. This signifies the cold and unjust nature of the Puritans, who want nothing more than strict laws and harsh punishment. In consequence, Hester refuses to show that the town has broken her and continues to keep her pride and remain dignified. In addition, the act when Dimmesdale mounts the scaffold to relieve himself of his guilt, serves as a transition between the town and forest, for although he is splitting from society, his is doing so in the confines of his own knowledge, not making it public. Dimmesdales ascend of the guilty platform serves as a remedy for his suffering for prior seven years (137). Although the act does not fully relieve him of his pain, as it should not, it gives him an excuse to keep moving on. This event shows that Dimmesdale is a weak and cowardly man, not yet strong enough to confess his sins, therefore forced to relieve his pain in this cowardly fashion. This event foreshadows that when Dimmesdale finally enlightens the town of his past adulteries, relieving him entirely of his guilt. Lastly, their confrontation in the forest allow Hester and Dimmesdale the freedom to express their true feelings towards each other. As they sat next to each other, hand clasped in hand, on the mossy trunk of the fallen tree Hester and Dimmesdale were finally able to express their love and plan their escape from the horrid
Open Document