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Scarlet Letter Essay On Guilt

Decent Essays
The Effects of Guilt and its Outcome Guilt is an emotion that everyone experiences. Depending on what a person does, it can affect them in a way that could change them forever. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne discusses how Hester and Dimmesdale had a baby together. Hester is already a married woman and Dimmesdale is a leader in the church. Hester has since been punished to wear a scarlet letter that shows her sin. This leads her to become guilty and Dimmesdale as well because he hasn’t admitted his sin. Hawthorne analyzes guilt and how Hester has a different outcome when she admits it than Dimmesdale who doesn’t. Some outcomes are better than the other and it’s not always in the way that one expects. As soon as Hester walks…show more content…
Hester has been able to wear her guilt publicly for over seven years and as mentioned earlier, her life changed for the better. Dimmesdale hasn’t worn his guilt but he’s hidden it inside of him and that has caused him to become absolutely miserable. Hester and Dimmesdale were chatting about their sin and what their guilt has led to. After Dimmesdale commits his sin, he feels as if God has punished him by having him become a “[minister] of spiritual torment” (131). He asks himself, “what can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?” (131). Dimmesdale believes that this is his punishment from God. He doesn’t think that his sermons are valid to others. His guilt has been toying with him for over seven years and he doesn’t see how he can help redeem others when he can’t even redeem himself. Eventually, Hester and Dimmesdale open up to each other about where they are in their life right now and where their guilt stands. When Dimmesdale and Hester are talking in the forest, they talk about how he can’t bear his guilt any longer. He claims that Hester is much happier than he’ll ever be because she wears her guilt “openly on [her[ bosom” (131) while his “burns in secret” (131). However, Hester says that he has “sorely repented” (131) and that his “sin is left behind [him]” (131). Since Dimmesdale has lied to himself and others so much and for so long, he believes that his guilt is overpowering and he has it worse than Hester. He
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