The Puritan Society In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In society people are quick to criticize others for any mistake or downfall. Yet, by doing so, they are being hypocritical because no one is perfect. Everyone has committed sins and when living in a strict Puritan society, such as the society presented in The Scarlet Letter, one wrongdoing can envelop and control the lives of numerous people. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbol of the Puritan society to shine light on the hypocrisy present in human nature. Hester is defined by the scarlet letter “A” that sits upon her bosom and is rejected from the strict Puritan society for many years due to the fact she committed the sin of adultery. Even though the whole of society views her in this fashion, Hester proves that it …show more content…
Initially he falls into the category of being a hypocrite minister yet he changes and attempts to be less secretive and more honest. His progression is evident though each time the scaffold appears in the story. In the beginning Hester is forced to stand on the scaffold to be publically shamed and humiliated. Mr. Dimmesdale is forced to stand next to her in front of the whole crowd; he chooses to not show to the crowd any recognition to Hester and fails to admit his sin. After this event, he continues to preach. Obviously any Puritan sermon would be urging the people to not commit sins and repent for their actions but this is very hypocritical if they do not follow these ideas themselves. Each time Dimmesdale preaches the community expresses their opinions of him. The people view Dimmesdale as having a “reputation of whitest sanctity” (Hawthorne 169). They compare him to whiteness and being pure. By withholding his sin of adultery with Hester, his sermons are hypocritical by urging the community to be pure and confess while he does not practice what he preaches. Chillingworth’s torment and the weight of the sin upon Dimmesdale causes an internal struggle. He begins using his sin and experience to influence his sermons without directly admitting it to the people. Then, when the scaffold appears a second time he still withholds the secret from the public but becomes more ready to admit it. Although he is still a hypocrite by admitting it silently, it shows his transition. Lastly, the scaffold appears a third time at Election Day while Dimmesdale is giving his final sermon. This time he admits to the sin publicly by saying: “I stand upon the spot where, seven years since, I should have stood, here, with this woman” (172). Not only does he admit to the sin but he also alludes to the fact he was a hypocrite for seven years. Although Dimmesdale finally overcame human

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