The Scarlet Letter: Hypocrisy Is A Sin



The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about the trials and
tribulations of Hester Prynne, a woman living in colonial Boston. Found
guilty of adultery, Hester's punishment is to wear a visible symbol of her
sin: the scarlet letter "A." Through the book, the reader comes to know
Hester, the adulteress; Dimmesdale, the holy man Hester had the affair
with; and Chillingworth, the estranged husband of Hester who is out for
revenge. The Scarlet Letter examines the interaction of these characters
and the reaction of these characters to Hester's sin. Although Hester's
sin is at first supposed to be adultery, in fact adultery is just one of
the many bases Hawthorne could use to build ...

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lives with it and
accepts her punishment. However, while succumbing to the will of the court,
she does not for an instant truly believe that she sinned. Hester thinks
that she has not committed adultery because in her mind she wasn't really
married to Chillingworth. Hester believes that marriage is only valid when
there is love, and there is no love between Hester and Chillingworth. In
the prison, defending her actions against him, she declares, "Thou knowest,
thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any"
(74). Then, later, speaking to Dimmesdale, Hester further imparts her
belief that she has not sinned, saying, "What we did had a consecration of
its own. We felt it so" (192). Therefore, Hester, in her mind, has not
committed a sin. The fact that she accepts the courts decision so meekly
and wears the scarlet letter denoting her as an adulteress is the first
way in which she is hypocritical. Hester, although she does not believe
she has sinned, ...

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a true religionist, with the reverential
sentiment largely developed, and an order of mind that impelled itself
powerfully along the track of creed" (120). Believing himself to have
committed the grave sin of adultery, Dimmesdale's responsibility is to
step down from his clerical position or at least admit his sin to the
public. Instead, Dimmesdale hides his sin and actually uses Hester's sin
in his sermons. A "true priest" would not hide his sin from his
congregation, as Dimmesdale does. The fact that Dimmesdale hides his own
sin while expounding on Hester's sin, which is actually the same, makes
Dimmesdale a hypocrite. Dimmesdale is not only hypocritical to his
congregation, ...

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Added: 12/11/2008 03:07:35 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1280
Pages: 5

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