Sin And Guilt In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Sin and guilt are two recurring themes not only found in The Minister’s Black Veil, but are also recurring themes found in many works by Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter is one of Hawthorne’s most famous writings and it is closely related to the theme of sin, specifically sin in secrecy, as proven to be true in Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil. The Scarlet Letter is also based during the Puritan time period therefore, sin is something that mostly all individuals frown upon and punishment is also provided for those who are sinful. The main character, Hester Prynne, wears a scarlet letter ‘A’ on her chest as a result of an affair with the town’s minister. The theme of sin is evident in The Scarlet Letter because the act of adultery not only …show more content…
Dimmesdale claims in the speech right before his death, “…look again at Hester’s scarlet letter! … it is but the shadow of what he bears on his own breast, and that even this, his own red stigma, is no more than the type of what has seared his inmost heart!” (Levine, 2017) Dimmesdale’s speech is but one example of the guilt, as a result of sin, that plays an active role in The Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter became a widely known and favored story by Hawthorn. Therefore, his themes of sin and guilt have been influential to many as far as writing influence and also his writings are an example to all as far as the results of sin and the guilt that routinely follows. Another work by Hawthorne that embodies the themes of both sin and guilt is titled Young Goodman Brown which was originally published in the New-England Magazine and later reprinted in series of short stories by Hawthorn titled Mosses from an Old Manse in …show more content…
He has discovered and knows the nature of man. He knows himself. This awareness is godlike and it is precisely what God forbade to Adam.” (Georgieva, 2009) Then there are writings by Hawthorne that do not clearly exemplify both sin and guilt as a theme, but rather they leave the reader to assume sin is evident and guilt is only to come. For example, in The Birthmark is a story of a man by the name of Aylmer who becomes so infatuated with a flaw on the face of his wife, Georgina. The theme of The Birthmark revolves around mostly science and some mortality. But after Aylmer finally influences his wife that he is capable of removing the imperfection on his wife’s face, he gives her a potion that removes the flaw but also ultimately takes her life. The story ends reflecting how Aylmer took advantage of what he already had because he was so consumed with science and fixing something that was not broken. The narrator closes the story off by stating, “…had Aylmer reached a profounder wisdom, he need not thus have flung away the happiness, which would have woven his mortal life of the self-same texture with the celestial.” (Levine, 2017) This allows the reader to believe that if the story was to continue on, because of the sin of altering Christ’s handy work and not accepting his wife as she was, that an overwhelming sense of grief would most likely be evident in Aylmer’s

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