The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1245 Words May 27th, 2016 5 Pages
The perceived righteousness or reprehensibility of adultery by an individual subsists where that individual chooses to comply or dissent from the ubiquity of society. The perception of morals proffered in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is “shadowed forth,” as is stated in the words of one of Hawthorne’s contemporaries. (“Review of ‘The Scarlet Letter”’) In the novel, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale battle the respective shame and guilt imposed by a judgmental Puritanical society and an evil doctor and former acquaintance of Hester, Roger Chillingworth. An ambiguous conclusion may only inhere upon coexistence with humanistic characters, thrilling terror through the “caustic” use of supernatural events, and “graphic delineation.” (“Review of ‘The Scarlet Letter”’) Such characteristics of The Scarlet Letter, as claimed in the criticism, exist and thrive throughout the text. Each poises the undefined moral for being interpreted by each reader his or her own. The use of terror in The Scarlet Letter, employed to “masterly effect,” adds to the novel’s mystery and tragedy. (“Review of ‘The Scarlet Letter”’) Upon Chillingworth’s discovery of a mysterious marking on Dimmesdale’s chest, Chillingworth’s joy is “too mighty to be expressed only by the eye and features, and therefore bursting forth through the whole ugliness of his figure.” The evil of Chillingworth is that he not only sees the evil in others, but, even more extreme than the Devil, has a “trait of…

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