Relationships and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

1987 Words 8 Pages
The Scarlet Letter is a well-known novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this novel Hawthorne wrote in depth about the Puritans’ reception to sin, in particular, adultery. He also includes brilliant visuals of the repercussions that occur when the town of Salem hears of Hester’s adultery. There are many relationships within the book, from a lover to a beautiful yet illegitimate daughter. Symbolism runs throughout, even a simple rose bush outside of a jail holds so much meaning. Hawthorne reveals themes all through the novel one in particular, was sin. Although sin does not occur often in the Puritan lifestyle Hawthorne shows the importance and change this one deceit makes for the town of Salem. The relationships depicted in Nathaniel …show more content…
I felt no love, nor feigned any,” which proves his accusations correct, and it further proves that Hester was never in love with Chillingworth (Hawthorne 69).
Since the book begins in the middle of the action, the circumstance of Hester and Dimmesdale’s relationship is not stated. Although it is told her true love is the loyal, well-spoken clergyman Arthur Dimmesdale. Fully knowledgeable of what they are doing, they fall in love, but cannot show it publicly. It displays that Hester and Dimmesdale are weak individuals by how quickly they fall into temptation and how they respond to the effects the affair has on their life (Macy). Dimmesdale cannot handle the effects whatsoever. As the days go on he gets paler and weaker. The guilt of the affair slowly eats away at Dimmesdale. “His nerve seemed absolutely destroyed. His moral force was abased into more than childish weakness” (Hawthorne 144).
Hester, on the other hand, goes from being a young lady to woman, a strong woman. Dealing with the harsh treatments of society helps her establish a thick coat of skin (Myerson). Despite all the negative tolls the relationship has on their lives, they both still care deeply for each other. This is proven when Dimmesdale is interrogating Hester and clasps his heart after saying, “She will not speak.” (Hawthorne 69). He knows he is the father of her child and is trying to cope with the heartache and feelings of guilt. It is proven again when Dimmesdale

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