The Effect Of Guilt Can Be Seen At The Beginning Of The Story

1754 Words Oct 12th, 2014 8 Pages
The effects of guilt can be seen at the beginning of the story in regards to the way that individuals in the colony perceive inappropriate actions. By first setting the stage by providing a context in which adultery is viewed as an extremely odious offense, Hawthorne creates an apt world which sets the stage for the rest of the story. As Puritan ideals that emphasize the need to remain accepted in society according to a strict set of values exist, so does the greater potential to be judged harshly for failing to meet these standards. Sin, in regards to exposed social impropriety, can most obviously be seen in the sentencing of the main character, Hester. As she is made to stand in front of the colony and expose her sin to the all relevant members of socially, her physiological state is weakened; “ It would be greatly for the public behoof if we women, being of mature age and church-members in good repute, should have the handling of such malefactresses as this Hester Prynne” (Hawthorne 78). Because of the realization that she is being castigated by society, she is subjected to judgment from other individuals within the colony. This represents the way that sin and guilt can manipulate the individuals by subjecting them to social subjugation. Another interesting, almost paradoxical relationship between authority, guilt and its effects on individuals is Hester 's guilt and involvement in the adultery that grips Dimmesdale. Although Dimmesdale is equally as responsible in…

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