Theme Of Criticism In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Decent Essays

The Scarlet Letter entrances the reader in an emotional and gut-wrenching background of a single New England Puritan colony, in which a precedence is set around religious beliefs that forbid any love that does not abide by the law. Hester Prynne, a remarkably strong woman and the protagonist of the story, along with the minister of the town, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, have an affair that is conceived to be a sin worthy of death in the town, yet the two are able escape this punishment. As Dimmesdale hides from his crime in cowardly ways, the woman whom he sins with expresses such braveness and dignity on the scaffold that in turn, she is able to live on. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne takes the Puritan society in which he devises and seemingly …show more content…

This reaction from the crowd serves two purposes, as it shows the harsh and cruel judgement that Prynne faced while she stood upon the scaffold in front of a very large crowd, but also expresses Hawthorne’s feeling toward love. He permits Hester to overcome this adjudication at a point in her life when she is at her weakest. The lack of understanding behind the entire situation from society’s perspective, comments on the absence of Puritan belief in love. The author purposely protects the character of Dimmesdale, and sacrifices Hester’s reputation to allow the reader to experience the "figure of perfect elegance on a large scale" that was backed by her confidence in the love she had for the minister. Hester knows she did no wrong, as she followed her heart, and although this resulted in her carrying of the burden and stigma of adultery she can handle suffering through this pain alone, despite the action being shared by two. Through it all, Nathaniel Hawthorne possesses a determined nature in Mrs. Prynne that will not allow her to accept the hatred she faces for an act that was deemed right in her own eyes. As time progresses it seems that Hester may just give up and abide by the strict Puritan law, but she soon comes to terms with herself and is able to help herself and find the power to do and sympathize. Hester’s experiences were filled with ‘helpfulness’, but she is now refined with a ‘power to do and power to

Get Access