Definition Of Beauty In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1178 Words 5 Pages
The definition of beauty is: a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Society has taught us that beauty can be portrayed through a magazine’s idea of perfection, but in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story, The Scarlet Letter, he introduces a character who quickly contrasts to our modern day definition of beauty. Hester Prynne, the main character of The Scarlet Letter, portrays her beauty not through her outward appearance, but a startling loveliness to her soul. Throughout the story, the underlying struggle of Hester Prynne was that she had sinned, by having a child with someone who wasn’t her husband. Although she had sinned, and suffered greatly after, due to the sin, her …show more content…
The loveliness and ugliness in one’s soul is determined by the optimism for the future, and fear or hatred for one’s past deeds or current deeds. Beauty, a trait that Hester and Pearl hold within them like a orb of light, is carried within them due to their way of living which is hopeful and caring. Ugliness, a characteristic similar to the fear and hatred, fills Dimmesdale and Chillingworth as they struggle with staying hopeful–their vision fogged with doubt and evil. Chillingworth, who was once a kind and just man, transfigured by a corrupted mind spoke to Hester about how he had transformed from a beautifully moral person into a monster of a human: “‘And what am I know?’ demanded he, looking into her face, and permitting the whole evil within him to be written on his features” (118). This change in Chillingworth shows what negativity and ugliness can do to one’s dignity and righteousness. Chillingworth, once filled with hope and love for his wife, had lost all that once coming to America and seeing his wife had betrayed him. Dimmesdale’s light and aspiration had disintegrated after keeping his sin hostage inside his mind for so long and fearing God’s prolonged punishment. The loss of hope in The Scarlet Letter seems to also be the disappearance of one’s beauty and true …show more content…
Seeing his beautiful wife, Hester, sin caused Chillingworth to turn evil since he became overcome with hatred towards the man who did not step up as the father, and began a manhunt for him. For Dimmesdale, the factors that caused ugliness to rot inside him was withholding his sin, while preaching constantly about the love of God, at the same time questioning his faith due to the fear of what God believed about him. No longer pure, Dimmesdale had finally lost hope as he announced, “As concerns the good which I may appear to do, I have no faith in it” (131). Not accepting his own punishment, the consequences were an internal battle with his virtue, and losing. It was a defining moment for Dimmesdale, a decision whether to be free of guilt and possibly get better, or take a turn for the worst as he give up the good in him–the last ray of beauty. The definition of ugly is: unpleasant or repulsive, especially in appearance. Society has taught us that ugliness can be portrayed through one’s flaws and imperfections, but in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story, The Scarlet Letter, he introduces two characters, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale, who hide their ghastliness internally. They contrast with Hester and Pearl–roses seem to flower around their heart, while thorns imprison Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s. This is similar to the rosebush outside of the prison Hester left in the beginning

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