Victimization In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne uses characterization to establish a tone of victimization throughout The Scarlet Letter. The people torment Hester Prynne and little Pearl through exclusion and mortification. Pearl suffers further from her stubborn and adventurous nature. Reverend Dimmesdale inflicts harsh punishments against himself out of guilt, resentment and shame for his sin. The deceptions that Boston’s naive masses believe make them the prey of ignorance. These psychological and physical horrors victims face arise from a universal quest for acceptance. The consistent distress of Hawthorne’s characters elicits a tone of victimization.
First, Hawthorne exercises the agony Hester and Pearl endure to enforce a tone of adversity and martyrdom. Their
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Dimmesdale is physically and psychologically abused by himself and Roger Chillingsworth. The physician often will “play upon him as he chose” by alluding to topics that include the preacher’s sin. He pulls on Dimmesdale’s string like a marionettist plays with his marionette. Dimmesdale suffers profusely from his unknown attacker with no apparent way to end the wrong-doing. The Reverend’s own actions sicken him further; Arthur Dimmesdale “loathed his miserable self” enough to subject himself to torture(137). He keeps himself awake with night vigils and “plied his own shoulders” with a scourge(141). HIs self-inflicted psychological abuse leads to the horrifying physical harm. Reverend Dimmesdale feels guilty and ashamed for his sin which results in a longing for retribution. He temporarily satisfies this reprisal by his private torments. Arthur Dimmesdale hurts himself through his mental maltreatment, physical persecution and by his ignorance Chillingsworth’s …show more content…
Their government and church imposes its legislation upon the Puritans by associating it with the image of a faithful parishioner. Hawthorne’s “giant of stern features” oppresses the community through its rigid code(82). The people of Boston suffer from the woe of ignorance and do not notice the brutal sovereignty that rules. If raised in a liberal environment these citizens would recognize their victimizer and revolt. The parents “imbibed” the children, which develops an obtuse generation(88). A pathogen christened Arthur Dimmesdale lives among the abused and abusers. Dimmesdale sickens his parish through his deception by establishing a foundation for defection. This occurs each time he climbs his pulpit without confessing his sin. His attempts to prevent this influence, but the parishioners “reverence him the more”(140). Dimmesdale’s pollution, the government, and the church victimizes the community of Boston by oppressing and deceiving them. This immense display of injustice intesifies the sufferance of the

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