The Importance Of Contradictions In The Scarlet Letter

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Register to read the introduction… Chillingworth, a scholarly physician, travels to America to learn traditional remedies from Native Americans and to assist the colonial settlers. While he appears to be a simple and virtuous man, Chillingworth is actually quite complex. After two encounters with Chillingworth, Hester describes him initially as “a white man” but later as “the Black Man” (55 and 71). These two contradictory illustrations of the same man reveal the conflict inside of Chillingworth. Also burdened by lack of purpose or place in society, Chillingworth sells his soul to the Devil, becoming the Faustian character who seeks revenge, but throughout the story, he shows fear of his transformation and a desire to return to “the book-worm of great libraries” he once was (68). In stark contrast, Dimmesdale, in the eyes of the citizens, represents the model of good Christian behavior, but he cannot be this model as he hides his crime for fear of leading his followers astray. Unfortunately, Dimmesdale’s guilt of adultery tortures him, and he carves the letter “A” into his flesh. Both Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are unsure of what to do and suffer the consequences of their actions. Seeking solace, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth take pleasure in each other’s company. Just as light and dark conflict and cannot exist without the other, Dimmesdale and …show more content…
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses this literary art to offer hope to the reader that redemption can be achieved after sin, and he effectively conveys this message through the contradictions of the Christian model and the personalities of his characters. In both The Scarlet Letter and The Minister’s Black Veil, Hawthorne explores isolation from society and connection to society by original sin through vagaries in religious characters, such as Dimmesdale and the minister Mr. Hooper. Through this paradox and those in his novel, Hawthorne reveals that life and human nature are paradoxes, for a person must struggle and face disappointment before he or she can truly find success and happiness. Moreover, a person can only redeem himself by understanding the consequences of sin through experience, and through these contradictions in his art, Hawthorne inspires his readers to find clarity from

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