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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter The virtue of truth and the evil of secret sin are clearly illustrated in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The three main characters in this novel display their own honesty and sins. Hester Prynne exhibits the essence of truth and pride when she bravely faces the humiliation of the scaffold. In chapter 17, when Hester apologizes to Dimmesdale about concealing Chillingworths identity, she says, In all things else, I have striven to be true! Truth was the one virtue which I might have held, and did hold fast, through all extremityA lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side (pg. 202)! It is Hesters pride, which sustains her from the beginning of the novel to the end, when she dies, still sporting the scarlet A on her bosom.

Hesters sin is the sin which gives the book its title and around which the action of the book resolves. Adultery, which was prohibited by the Seventh Amendment, was usually punished by death. A woman in the crowd stated, At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynnes forheadShe may cover it (the scarlet letter) with a brooch, or such like heathenish adornment, and so walk the streets as brave as ever (pg. 53)! Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale shows truth by his occupation. People living in Boston, Massachusetts looked up to and respected Dimmesdale because he was a minister.

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One of his sins was his inability to publicly acknowledge that he committed adultery with Hester and that he is the father of Pearl, Hesters daughter. However, adultery was not his biggest sin. His biggest sin is hypocrisy. In chapter ten, he speaks of the concealment of his sins, he says, It may be that they are kept silent by the very constistution of their nature. Or-can we not suppose it-guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for Gods glory and mans welfareno evil of the past be redeemed by better service (pg.

137). While trying to conceal his sins, they take over his conscience and literally confess themselves during his acts of madness. The third main character, Roger Chillingworth, is a pretty innocent man in the beginning of this book. He comes to America to be reunited with his wife, Hester, but soon comes to find out that she has committed adultery. Chillingworth has however committed two sins also. One of them being against nature. He says, A man already in decay, having given my best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge, -what had I to do with youth and beauty like thine own (pg.

77)! Sin, in actuality, begins to take possession of Chillingworth when he noticed Hester on the scaffold. Chillingworth eventually destroys himself. As he is talking to Hester in chapter fourteen when he has realized what has happened between Hester and Dimmesdale, he says, Dost thou remember me? Was I not, though you might deem me cold, nevertheless a man thoughtful for others, craving little for himself, -kind, true, just, and of constant, if not warm affections? Was I not all this (pg. 180)? As shown in the novel, each individual character displayed both senses of truth and evil. Some were less severe than others, but still sins.

Overall, a lesson of purity is developed throughout the book. English Essays.

The scarlet letter

In this novel Hester Prynee is represented in several
different ways. Before this story starts she was sent to
Boston by her husband (Roger Chillingworth) who was supposed
to be meeting her there shortly. He never makes it, she
assumes he died at sea. While in Boston she meets Rev.

Dimmesdale she has an affair with him and gets pregnent. He
then starts to ignore her. Months later when everyone finds
out about her illegitimate daughter (Pearl) and that she is
un married. She is looked upon with great sin. When she is
first introduced into the novel she is in the prison. She
emerges wearing an elaborately emroidered scarlet letter
“A” (meaning adultery) on her breast, and carries her 3
month old infant in her arms. She is led onto the scaffold
where she has to stand in fron of the whole town as part of
her punishment. While on the scaffold she has flashbacks of
her old life, this is where we first learn about the real
Hester Prynne. The rest of her punishment is that she has to
wear the scarlet “A” for the rest of her life. The Rev. Mr.

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Dimmesdale pleads with Hester to tell the name of the man
she had a sexual affair with, but she will not. After the 3
hours she is lead back to the prison with Pearl. At this
point in the novel we learn that back in England Hester was
married to a man, Roger Chillingworth. This man is now in
Boston and comes to visit Hesters prison cell. Hester and
Dimmesdale discuss who is at fault for her affair. He admits
that he will find the father though. When Hester is released
from prison she has the choice to go anywhere in the world,
but she chooses to stay in Boston where she commited her sin
and where she will have her punishment. She starts sewing
and sells her garments but puritan society never accepts
her. Believes “A” allows her to see sinful and immoral
feelings in other people. Hesters strength is most seen when
she goes to the Governers mansion to plead for her daughter.
In the following years Hester and Dimmesdale start speaking
again. Now you will be able to see her weaker side.She
falls in love with him all over, they plan to leave Boston
and move to Bristol, England and live the rest of their
lives there. But they never make it, When Hester dies she is
burried next to Dimmesdale. Physically Hester at the
begining of the novel is a tall young woman with a figure of
perfect elegance on a larger scale. Her most impressive
feature is her dark and abundant hair so glossy that it
threw off the sunshine with a gleam. Her complexion is
rich, her eyes are dark and deep, and her regular features
giver her a beautiful face. Seven years later after all her
torture she looks much different. Her hair is now hidden
under her cap, her beauty and warmth are gone, buried under
the burden of the elaborate scarlet letter on her bosom. In
chapter 13 when she removes the cap and takes off that
letter her beauty comes back. Hester is very strong willed
as well as very lonley, those two are a horrible
combination. Hesters image becomes to be known through the
“A.” In her whole life Pearl was her best companion.

Through all of the sufferimg Hester just became stronger and
Dimmesdale is the young, pale, and phsyically delicate
minister. Whose charector changes many times through out the
novel. He has large eyey and a tremulous mouth. He is well
educated and thinks with a philsophical turn of mind. He is
very devoted to God. Even though he sins as much as anyone
in this novel. Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold and tells
Hester to release the name of her husband, but she will not.

Later Dimmesdale be-friends Roger Chillingworth the two move
in together when Dimmesdales health begins to slip.
Dimmesdale meets Hester on the scaffold at midnight and
acknowledges Pearl. Pearl begins to question why he wont be
seen with them during daylight on the scaffold! He begins to
get weaker and weaker by the day, but his congregation
learns to love him more each day. He is now the most popular
of the local ministers and the most honorable. This just
makes him feel more guilty that everyone is respecting him
for something he does not deserve. He feels as if they knew
the truth that they would no longer love and respect him.

Hester goes and meets him in the woods and the two make
plans to leave Boston and move to Bristol, England. But
trajedy strikes during his Electon day sermon he knows he
must die, he invites Hester and Pearl on the scaffold with
him…and dies! He is a coward and a hypocrite. He knows
what he has to do to still the voice of his conscience and
make his peace with God. He simply cannot bring himself to
do it. He is somewhat pale and weak from the first moment we
see him. And he grows paler and weaker by the minute, as he
lives ridden with guilt. By the time the minister comes to
the forest, he barely has the strength to throw himself down
on the leaves in the hope that he can lie there forever. He
lacks the will even to wish to live or die. When he leaves
the forest he has more charisma then ever before, he is
jubilant and walks with energy. But not long after he is
back to his feeble walking and negative attitudes.

Dimmesdale carves the letter A onto himself this tells us he
We first see Roger Chillingworth in this novel when he comes
to Boston and sees Hester standing on the scaffold he asks
someone why she is standing there and what the “A” means!
When he finds out, his main goal is to find out who the
father is. We learn that Chillingworth had been married to
Hester back at home.He sent her here and then planned to
join her. But he fails to join her quickly, for he is
captured by Indians from whom he gathers a knowledge of
herbal medicine. He is an old, evil, vicious, ugly, and
deformed man. He becomes obsessed with finding out who it
is. Even if that means destroying Dimmesdales life.

Chillingworth is evil in this novel. He starts out being
evil by making Hester not tell anyone they are married. Then
he sets out to destroy Dimmesdale. His evilness leads to the
the death of Dimmesdale. Chillingworth is a tricky charector
that we think could be all bad but turns out to have some
good in him. Taking the best out of his bad situation with
his encounter with the indians he learns much information
about medicine. He also takes half of the blame for Hesters
affair, even though he wasnt even there. Even his name
resembles a chill. He is an evil type that observes but does
not feel. He never REALLY takes on human charectoristics in
this novel until the end where he gives Pearl the large sum
of money, and shrivels from guilt.He has a brave and
adventurous mind. He also has the gift of irony. It is no
accident that the doctor takes Boston by storm. He has the
capacity- rare in any age, unheard of in Puritan New
England- to observe the world without preconceptions, and
then to put his observations to work.
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