The Scarlett Letter

Decent Essays
Set in seventeenth century Boston, The Scarlet Letter is a riveting tale about the life of an adulteress in the Puritan culture. The Scarlet Letter is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The century in which the book takes place has much to do with the way Hester Prynne and her daughter, Pearl, are treated and judged by the townspeople. People in that time did not seem to treat an adulteress and the offspring of the affair as human beings. Hester, Pearl, and Arthur Dimmesdale, the preacher, are the main characters in the story. The major theme in this story could almost be perceived as karma. All darkness must come into light, and all sin will soon be known.
The book begins with the jailers leading Hester Prynne out into the streets to be looked upon by the townsfolk. After everyone has seen her and made their
…show more content…
The town knew of Hester’s sin and was publicly humiliated while the father of Pearl was nowhere to be found. While she is on the scaffold, a man says, “It irks me…the partner of her iniquity should not stand on the scaffold by her side. But he will be known!” (Chapter III). The theme is shown here when the man says the adulteress will be known because Dimmesdale gets away with his sin at the moment, but eventually, his sin will be known to the town and he will have to pay for it, just like Hester.
Throughout the book, Hawthorne gradually takes the shame away from Hester and gives it to Dimmesdale. In chapter seventeen, Dimmesdale asks Hester if she has found any peace. She smiles at her scarlet letter and asks him the same question. Dimmesdale says that he has not found any peace, only despair. He says, “Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon you bosom! Mine burns in secret!” (Chapter XVII). Hester has found peace because she admitted her sin openly, and Dimmesdale is suffering because his sin has not been found out,
Get Access