Theme Of Redemption In The Scarlet Letter

Great Essays
Sin and guilt are unavoidable in human life. Everybody, at one point or another, has committed some sin and have felt at least a little remorse over their actions. Given the inevitable nature of sin, it’s almost pointless to address the means to avoid it, if there are any, and infinitely more important to address the means to deal with sin and to redeem oneself. The themes of redemption and guilt are explored heavily in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. In it, the life of Hester Prynne, a convicted adulteress that’s forced to wear the titular scarlet letter A, is documented starting with her public trial. Interwoven into her narrative are the lives of Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester’s fellow adulterer, Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, …show more content…
After enduring her trial at the scaffold, she’s eventually allowed to return home with her child under the stipulation that she’s to forever wear the scarlet letter A as a reminder to herself and other people of her sin. Here, we find out that she’s a seamstress. Through sewing “does Hester begin to find grace and to grasp the truth […] her needlework is an act of penance, a product of delicate imaginative skill” (Male 101). Her needlework is renowned throughout the town with her work appearing on persons of high government offices and in events of high import, even funerals. Her work as a seamstress provides her with a way to give back to her community and to become a productive member of it. Her impact in this area is so great that “her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion” (Hawthorne ). She even does charity work, sewing together clothes and blankets for the poor and needy, personally delivering her charity herself. Hester, through her occupation, works tirelessly to add to the community, showing …show more content…
Soon after Dimmesdale dies in relative peace after confessing his sins, Chillingworth dies too as a result of losing his desire for revenge due to the impossibility of it. The only thing keeping Chillingworth alive was his revenge, and this revenge could even be seen as a form of reliance. Without Dimmesdale, without the man that Chillingworth wants to kill, he can’t function since his life’s purpose centers on Dimmesdale. All of Chillingworth’s actions till not, in a way, really undermine himself. After Chillingworth dies, his fortune doesn’t go to waste, being inherited by Pearl. The great irony here is that the product of Chillingworth’s work, his now tainted work as a doctor and a scientist, is being given to Pearl, the adulterous product of Hester, his wife, and Dimmesdale, the man he swore to kill. His death is an insult against his life as it empowers the result of the cause of his vengeance. Chillingworth’s life, due to his obsession with revenge and his unapologetic pursuit of sin, is not a very happy one, and he dies unfulfilled, his death becoming an

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