Theme Of Revenge In The Scarlet Letter

Decent Essays
Revenge is one of the classic staples in drama, and its role in The Scarlet Letter is perhaps one of the greatest examples. The story is about Hester Prynne, a woman who tries to raise her daughter in a Puritanical society that shuns her for cheating on her husband, later revealed in the story as a man named Roger Chillingworth. As a result of this sinful deed, she is condemned to wear a scarlet letter, the letter “A”, as a reminder of the atrocity she had committed. Her lover is Arthur Dimmesdale, the praised minister of the church. While he and Hester try to keep their sinful relationship a secret, Roger Chillingworth uses this as the basis for his revenge. The main theme of revenge is presented through the schemes of Roger Chillingworth, …show more content…
Interestingly, it is not Chillingworth that seeks revenge upon Hester, as he tells her, “We have wronged each other. Mine was the first wrong, when I betrayed thy budding youth into a false and unnatural relation with my decay. Therefore, I seek no vengeance, plot no evil against thee. Between thee and me, the scale hangs fairly balanced” (43). Instead, Chillingworth feels that the scarlet letter is enough to punish her. The events of the story prove him right, as the curse of the scarlet letter continue burden Hester. In fact, in a way the scarlet letter represents the townspeople’s revenge against her for breaking their strict Puritanical moral code. It brings her shame and isolates her from the rest of the community as the people avoid her and reject her from society. She starts to lose faith in the future and it brings more struggles to raising Pearl, who becomes so mesmerized with the scarlet letter that she doesn’t recognize her mother without it. Like Dimmesdale, however, it was the moment of confession that eliminated the bitterness inherent within the scarlet letter; “The scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too” (146). This is powerful because Hester proves that by continuing to wear the scarlet letter that …show more content…
Both Hester and Dimmesdale were able to overcome Chillingworth’s clutches and turn the tide onto him instead. It proves that the very nature of revenge is unpredictable and rarely works out the way it is

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