Sin and Redemption:
The Transformations of Prynne, Chillingsworth, and Dimmesdale
In “The Scarlet Letter,” Hawthorne presents the consequences of sin as an important aspect in the lives of Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingsworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale. The sin committed, adultery, between Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale had resulted in the birth of their innocent little girl, Pearl. This sin ruined the three main characters’ lives completely in different ways. With the sin committed, there were different ways the characters reacted to it: embracing the sin, concealing the sin, and becoming obsessed and consumed with it. With each reaction to the sin there were also different actions of redemption.
The sin of adultery and the power to …show more content…
The letter went from a “badge of shame as an adulterer to a “symbol of her calling” as being able to help others in need (111). All of her hard work and determination allowed her to succeed and the townspeople embraced her and spoke good words of her, saying she was “so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, [and] so comfortable to the afflicted” (111). Though she committed adultery and went through a great deal of public humiliation, she did not let it destroy her. Instead she embraced her sin and was able to redeem herself through hard work and determination.
The sin of hypocrisy and secrecy is represented through the character, Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale, the minister of the town, got a married woman pregnant and concealed the fact that he did from the rest of the townspeople for many years. In the beginning of the novel, the townspeople viewed Dimmesdale’s “eloquence and religious fervor” as bringing a positive innocent man to the town (46). Though he portrays an outwardly goodness about him, he truly is mendacious on the inside. His guilty conscience caused him to become extremely sickly. The townspeople believed that Dimmesdale’s health “had suffered severely, of late, by his too unreserved self-sacrifice to the labors and duties of the pastoral relation” (74). Truthfully though, the young minister was “pale, and holding his hand over his heart” as a clue of is suffering from hiding his sin (78). Later, it is
Though she suffers for seven long years, she never actually repents, but falls into adultery once again. She is defiant to the Puritan way and the commandment forbidding adultery, not only physically but in her heart as well. By the end of the book, a reader can observe that she never repents, but liberally deceives herself and society. In contrast, Dimmesdale eventually realizes that confession is necessary to repentance, in addition to denying himself any adulteress thoughts or acts.
Puritan society placed great importance upon a person 's reputation. Without an honorable reputation a person is not worthy of respect from others in their society. Characters in this novel go through their lives struggling with themselves trying to cope with the guilt and shame associated with their actions. In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's novel, The Scarlet Letter, he shows the lasting effect that sin has on Hester and Dimmesdale.
Hester Prynne, the main character of the book "The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, commits adultery, is considered a hussy, and has a child as the result of her sin. She cheats on her husband while he is absent from town and receives a harsh punishment for her behavior already. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her bosom for the rest of her life. It is now on debate on whether or not Pearl should be taken away from her mother’s guidance. This is due to the fact that she is a sinner and might not be a qualified mother for her child.It is true, that no matter what you did in the past, a child is a blessing and parents change due to the love they have for their children. Therefore, Hester
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, is a compassionate yet riveting piece of English literature that supports the movement for equality of suppressed women during a most tumultuous time during the 1800’s. Hawthorne’s use of emotional diction and imagery throughout his novel employs a deplorable tone upon the story. It serves as a stark representation of an imaginative yet realistic example of the indifference of men and women during these changing times. Deeply held Puritanical beliefs led countless of people to believe that individuals, especially women, who committed sins of any type would never reach heaven upon their passing. Men, on the other hand, were judged less severely if accused of a crime. Hester Prynne, the
1. Mistress Hibbins is a widow and lives with her brother Governor Bellingham. She is known to be a witch who rides in the forest. She appears in the book a number of times to show the hypocrisy and evil inside of the society. Governor Bellingham often discusses with the other town fathers about situations in town. Which also included taking Pearl away from Hester and have her be raised by foster parents since they were unsure if Hester could properly school her child considering her sin by saying, “The point hath been weightily discussed, whether we, that are of authority and influence, do well discharge our consciences by trusting an immortal soul, such as there is in yonder child, to the guidance of one who hath stumbled and fallen amid
Sin affects us all and with sin comes punishment. For example, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dark romantic novel The Scarlet Letter, New England punishment is described as cruel and highly unreasonable, as seen in the whipping of disobedient children (Hawthorne ch.2 par.1). The Puritans especially had questionable antics towards anyone who dared to disagree with their religious views. This was seen in the banishment of Anne Hutchison, in the November of 1637; she was accused of blasphemy (People and Ideas par.7). Not only do punishments chastise their victims physically, they also influence their social and spiritual lives as well.
Sin is something humans are aware of but sometimes forget how much of an effect it can have on their lives. The different ways people go about obtaining sin in their hearts and minds vary, but no matter how severe the act committed is, the consequence sin has on someone is equally powerful. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne uses adultery as a way to show the power sin has through a woman named Hester Prynne. Hester Prynne is a young woman who commits adultery with the minister of Boston, Arthur Dimmesdale, and conceived a child named Pearl. Throughout the novel, the sin of committing adultery affects everyone involved. The way Hawthorne conveys sin throughout the novel makes people wonder if their sins are impacting themselves and
The concept of sin and redemption is one that many people interpret differently. In “The Scarlet Letter,” Arthur Dimmesdale, a reverend who committed adultery with a woman named Hester Prynne, found his own opinions of sin and redemption to change as he underwent his process of moving past his own mistakes. Although Dimmesdale initially argues that sins may be redeemed through publicly admitting fault of all parties involved and facing earthly punishment, he ultimately comes to suggest that repentance through a divine figure is the true path to redemption. In his first speech from the pulpit, Dimmesdale makes an argument that one is able to redeem himself through a public admission of sin.
Furthermore, Hawthorne also expresses the belief that Puritans are intolerant, specifically in terms of sin and punishment. Their punishments often resulted in guilt, isolation and a desire for redemption or acceptance into society. In the instance that a sin or a crime is committed, Puritans demand the sinners or criminals to confess publicly, and they are met with a severe punishment. “The slightest offense...met with the same ‘solemnity of demeanor’ as the most awful, “as befitted a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical’ ” (Mills 84).
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, various forms of sin are expressed through the characters of Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale. With evidence
To “be true,” in terms of The Scarlet Letter, one must outwardly show the secret of his identity (Male 325). However, a common characteristic of all people is to hide their sins in secrecy. In The Scarlet Letter, the effects of hidden sin and revealed sin are exemplified through the lives of Hester Prynne, Pearl and Arthur Dimmesdale. Together Prynne and Dimmesdale commit an act of adultery against Chillingworth, which forces Prynne to admit her sins to the community. While Prynne’s open conviction of sin cause her to meet ignominy and scorn, it allows her to gain the forgiveness of society. Even though Pearl does not commit her own sin, she is affected by the sin of her mother. Dimmesdale keeps his sin of adultery hidden. This gives him a sense of guilt that causes inward anguish, ultimately leading to his death. Surprisingly, many characters created by different authors have similar traits to the characters created by Hawthorne. In fact, what is true for all characters is that the effects of guilt and hidden sin are worse and less honorable than the effects of public criticism and revealed sin.
In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne shows us an essentially legalistic Puritan society with its inhabitants adhering to strict moral codes, and punishing and isolating those who fail to conform to its religious, and social laws. To them, sin is sin: it has to be punished publicly and harshly. But, the narrator disagrees and throughout the novel, he emphasizes grace and forgiveness for sins through faith in a religious society. We can observe from our three main characters in the novel, Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth their ability to forgive and not to forgive. Our protagonist, Hester Prynne, struggles to work against the discrimination of the Puritan community and her ill-fated scarlet letter- a letter A to symbolize
“Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait which your worst may be inferred!” (177) This quote was explained by Hawthorne to explain that humans should wear their weaknesses on their sleeves so they can realize their weaknesses and form them into their strengths. Nathanial Hawthorne attempted to point out that even though Hester wore her Scarlett letter proudly, the townspeople would rather hide them, and point out their problems onto other people.
The Scarlet Letter is filled with victories and losses, all the while following a woman and her daughter through this rigorous tale filled with sin and hardships. One of the ten commandments in the bible is “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. Nathaniel Hawthorne clearly explains this topic by navigating through the 24 chapters using literary devices, biblical references, and rhetorical devices to truly get the point across.
The main characters in the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, experience personality changes because of the sins they commit. Chillingworth, Hester, and Dimmesdale all commit sins that change their character for better or worse. The consequences of the sins affects them mentally emotionally and physically.