The Role Of Sin In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The author’s view on sin in The Scarlet Letter
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece, sin plays a dominant role in how Hawthorne steered the plot. Many people would argue that Hawthorne seems to imply support of sin, especially adultery, but true study of the book’s characters and their descriptions counters that idea. The plot of Scarlet Letter shows that Hawthorne believes sin, no matter how the narrator views the characters, ultimately leads to death.
Hester and Dimmesdale, both guilty of the sin of Adultery, seemed to be favored by the narrator only to die at the end. Chillingworth, guilty of the sin of hatred, vengeance, and evil thoughts, was often portrayed as the antagonist by the
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Pearl, who the narrator highly favors, doesn’t commit any sin but is the result of one, not only lives, but also, has a productive and fulfilling life. At the beginning of the book the author notes, “A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray” (45). The narrator views the Puritan community as a rather bland, strict, and gray group of people who have no love for the unique but hold anybody and everybody to their view on moral standards. When the author describes the Puritans as they become fond of Hester, he regards, “Women...came to Hester’s cottage, demanding why they were so wretched, and what the remedy.” The Puritans, especially the women, sook Hester for help with their passionate sins. The way they viewed the scarlet letter changed from lust to love. They so openly respected Hester and viewed her as someone to look up to and to emulate. Pearl seems to be the author’s favorite character for he describes her as “a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of guilty passion.” (80) The narrator regards Pearl as the most beautiful thing in the world. She embodied the passion, the direct result of the sin of her parents, the centerpiece in Chillingworth’s vengeance plot, and the embodiment of the scarlet letter on Pearl’s chest. His view on Hester doesn’t change for when he describes her after she has grown, he mentions, “Pearl was not only alive but married and happy.” (227) Pearl, later in life, gets married on the properties bequeathed to her by Chillingworth. She has children of her own and takes care of them with the wealth acquired through the death of old Roger Chillingworth. Pearl, the demon-child, enjoys success and lives a happy and satisfied life unlike her mother or her father. The Puritans, although dull and very strict, are later on shown by the author as becoming more accepting especially with Hester.

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