Essay on The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1880 Words Jan 22nd, 2016 8 Pages
Defined by its exploration of the darker themes within humanity, Nathaniel Hawthorne paints The Scarlet Letter as a tragic romance embodied by the immoral lovers Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, in the aftermath of their sin. Set in the middle of the seventeenth century during a time of religious fervor, Hawthorne’s novel unfolds in the colony of Massachusetts, characterized by its strict, traditional Puritan community at the time. In consequence for their actions, Hester and Dimmesdale struggle to face the vindictive Puritan community during their endeavor for self liberation from their brand as sinners. With this central conflict driving the novel, Hawthorne is able to analyze humanity’s darker morals, expressed throughout his text. Through the use of conflict and characterization in his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the prevalent theme of individual identity versus society as present in the struggle of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale against their unforgiving Puritan community. The internal and external conflict of Hester Prynne lies within her struggle of identifying with her individual identity as opposed to the societal identity forced upon her by her community. Notably, Hester’s sin of adultery is the impetus for her conflict, as the novel as a whole, “is a tragedy defined by the ideal woman’s defeat by inflexible moral traditions, by her Puritan community for her passion and romantic loyalty, and destruction caused by her social…

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