The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1201 Words Nov 20th, 2015 5 Pages
Guilt derived from sin may have a disastrous effect on the individual to the point that the person will be mentally and physically deteriorated; this is especially true if the sin is contained in the individual. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne creates a situation in which guilt and sin are driving forces. The characters in The Scarlet Letter greatly exhibit how guilt can affect the individual and how the individual will react to it. When Dimmesdale commits adultery with Hester Prynne, he keeps the secret bottled up inside of him while Hester gets punished. This fills him with an intense guilt that tears him apart. In spite of the fact that Dimmesdale still appears fine to the regular townsfolk, on the inside, Dimmesdale is losing his mind because of the large secret that he is keeping enclosed. Through the deterioration and eventual demise of Dimmesdale, Hawthorne explores the idea that salvation can only be gained by staying true to oneself, or else guilt will envelop the individual. The negative effect that guilt takes upon the guilty is very detrimental to Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter and it influences everything he does, such as his social interactions and his thinking. Dimmesdale grows weaker and weaker because of the enormous toll his guilt and secret are taking on him, but his demise is a gradual process. As each week goes by “his cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before,---when it had now become a constant…

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