Sinfulness In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Sinfulness affects all people in many different ways. Several of these results are shown in the novel The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, as a condemnation of the Puritans. In the novel, a woman Hester Prynne commits adultery and so is punished harshly by the Puritan law. She wears a scarlet letter on her chest which marks her as a sinner and casts her out of society to live with desperation and solitude. Her fellow adulterer and minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, keeps his sin from the community and so is torn apart by his own guilt. Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s previous husband, only furthers this guilt, and devotes his life to the punishment of Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale finally escapes this man by confessing to his sins publicly …show more content…
She resides in the “black flower of civilized society, a prison”(43; ch.1). She struggles during this time because she has yet to find her strength to overcome the troubles that are to come. She struggles with her morals and feelings. She also stands upon the scaffold in front of the whole town in the marketplace and endures ignominy. Hester feels the “meagre, indeed, and cold…sympathy… from such bystanders at the scaffold”(45; ch.2). This ordeal puts her under great emotional pain and she cannot bear the shame. However, the punishment that affects her the most is to wear a scarlet letter to mark her as sinner for all of society to see. Hester Prynne becomes the symbol of sin for all of society to “be taught to look at her...as the figure, the body, the reality of sin” (71; ch.5). This is the major consequence that isolates her from society and places a large weight of shame upon her shoulders for many years to come. Hester learns from her solitude and she becomes accustomed to living as an outcast, which erases her beauty. Finally, Hester has a good consequence from her sin. Hester never goes to acquire anything for her personal gain and she learns humbleness. Hester “bestowed all her superfluous means in charity, on wretches less miserable than herself” (75; ch.5). She becomes even more kind than before and gradually people come to see her as a symbol of ableness and …show more content…
There are numerous consequences as a result of Chillingworth’s evil. First, Chillingworth makes it his purpose to torment Dimmesdale and destroy his spiritual strength. Every other goal in Chillingworth’s life disappears except for this one, and he puts his whole essence into revenge and destroying Dimmesdale. Chillingworth affects Dimmesdale psychologically and “caused him to die daily a living death” (154; ch.14). This goal is what Chillingworth drives himself to do and loses the person he was before. Another consequence of tormenting Dimmesdale is that Chillingworth changes from “a mortal man, with once a human heart,” into “a fiend for [Dimmesdale’s] especial torment” (155; ch.14)! Over time he becomes more twisted and evil looking and malevolence for his victim can be seen on his face. At the beginning of the novel he is a scholar but he transforms into a devil as a consequence of his affliction on Dimmesdale. One last consequence of his sin is that he becomes destroyed by his revenge. At the very end of the novel Dimmesdale finally escapes him and so there is nothing left for him in life. At Dimmesdale’s death, Chillingworth’s purpose disappears and all of his strength and force leaves him. He withers up due to the consummation of revenge and vanishes “like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun” (238; ch.24). The consequences of Chillingworth’s sin ultimately destroys him and

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