The Scarlet Letter Theme Analysis

2162 Words Oct 15th, 2012 9 Pages
The Scarlet Letter, a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel that takes place in the town of Boston, Massachusetts in 1642. Hester Prynne, the main character of the story, commits the sin of adultery. Because of this sin, she is "blessed" with a child named Pearl. Her punishment is to wear a scarlet letter “A" on her chest for the rest of her life, which affects the way the townspeople look and act around her. Also, she must stand on the scaffold in the town for three hours for the whole town to recognize her grave sins. The man who should be standing upon the scaffold along with her and Pearl is the town minister, Dimmesdale. He is presented as a weak character because of his fear of losing his beloved reputation as such a holy …show more content…
Because of his pure evil, he is even seen as the Black Man. Hester questions, “Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest round about us?” (Hawthorne 65). In the long run, the main sin of adultery effects the main characters in different positive and negative ways. Furthermore, the sin of adultery allows the theme of the nature of evil to emerge throughout the novel. The characters in the novel often associate the Black Man with different people. Generally speaking, the Black Man or the Devil, is the main expression of evil. This Black Man is associated with different characters including Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, Mistress Hibbins, Pearl, and even Hester. Firstly, Pearl associates the Black Man to Dimmesdale. She asks, “And, mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is It because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place?” (Hawthorne 164). Pearl, for such a young age, notices how strange and suspicious Dimmesdale acts and senses the evil within him. Furthermore, instead of direct associations with the Black Man, Chillingworth goes through physical changes that can be compared to the characteristics of the Black Man. By the end of the novel, he has become an uglier, darker, and more crooked version of his former self from seven years back. His actions can also be compared to those of the Black Man, where his actions are meant to spread evil. “The fact that he is so intelligent also makes him all the more
Open Document