Sin is the main theme in The Scarlet Letter. All of the characters in the book were somehow affected by the main sin, which was adultery. The three main characters were the most widely affected, and their whole lives were molded by the way they dealt with the sin. The sin surrounds, encloses, and strangles them. There was no escaping from its cruel consequences. Hester Prynne’s sin was labeled an adulteress, and the result of this was that she had to wear the scarlet letter “A. ” She feels that her sin has taken away everything she had, and given her one thing in return; that is, her baby.
Although she had dignity and pride when she first stepped out of the prison and when she stood upon the scaffold this “A” alienated and separated her from the community, and she stood alone with her child as she does for the most of her life following this event. From then on, she had to live away from the community with her baby, Pearl, and was shunned by everyone. The sin she committed made her think that death would be an easy way out and that she deserves little, for she says, “I have thought of death, have wished for it, would have even prayed for it, were it fit that such as I should pray for anything (Hawthorne 138).
” Throughout the next years, the sin Hester committed changes her whole life. Once she was a beautiful woman, Hester now looks Swallowed up by life. Once passionate, she is now serious. She had a quality of womanhood that has now faded away. Her plain gray clothes symbolize her temperament and disposition. There are also good effects that the sin has on her. She becomes more giving and caring, and is endlessly helping the poor and sick and doing neighbors favors. Hester feels that she owes these things to the community, and is also forcing herself into submission for the community.
The Affects of Sin on the Individual in The Scarlet Letter In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there is a reoccurring theme of the affects of sin on man. The three main characters, Hester Pryne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingsworth, are all affected by the sin of Hester Pryne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester Pryne is strengthened by the sin, Arthur Dimmesdale is weakened ...
The sin stays with her throughout her life, and even when she leaves her town, she feels obligated to come back and complete her punishment. The sin made her lifestyle worse, but it changed her character for the better. Arthur Dimmesdale, a reverend in the Puritan Church, committed the sin of adultery with Hester. The difference between their cases was that Dimmesdale did not confess until seven years after the crime was done. Although he never received a punishment from the government as Hester did, he punished himself Everyday.
He was tortured with guilt in his heart; as a result, carried out fasts, and other physical damage to himself. As a result of not confessing his sin, he despised himself more than anything. The fact that his parishioners love him more than they had after he told a sermon about hypocrites makes him loathe himself so much more. Over the seven years that this story takes place in, Dimmesdale becomes very ill. He becomes pale, nervous and sickly. After a while, it gets to the point where he uses a cane to walk, and people were afraid for his life.
The reason for his illness is not any disease, but the effect of sin and guilt on his shoulders. After putting himself through a living hell for seven years; finally, Dimmesdale’s dying words are his confession. Roger Chillingworth comes to Boston to find his wife, Hester Prynne. When he arrives, she is standing upon a scaffold with a baby in her arms. After finding out what was going on, the first thing he says is “It irks me, nevertheless, that the partner of her inquity should not, at least, stand on the scaffold by her side.
But he will be known! – he will be known! – he will be known (Hawthorne 186)! ” This foreshadows the sin that he commits, which is greater than Hester and Dimmesdales’. Chillingworth spends his entire life trying to finding Hester’s partner in crime and punishing him. He suspects Dimmesdale and so becomes his doctor and moves in with him. Once he was certain of him; in addition, he keeps him alive to live in agony. The effect of his great sin on his own character is that of a complete transformation to evil.
... Sin and it is worse than sins of passions. Dimmesdale says when the physician? ? s true character is revealed to him: We are not, Hester ... upon him the deepest and most irreparable injury. Hester and Dimmesdale, having committed adultery, share true love.Yet, the Puritan ... , hence her subsequent life of public ignominy. Neither can Dimmesdale enjoy peace after the adultery is committed. At least his ...
His physical characteristics become twisted and corrupted;as a result, as does his soul and life purpose. His one-track mind leads him to eventual self-deterioration. He is the worst sinner in the book, and once his demonic transformation was complete, there was no turning back. The way sin affects the lives of the characters in the book, and the way they each deal with it is enlightening;however, still unsettling. In a way, we can see why the characters acted the way they did, but it’s unsettling to see them end up the way they did.
If there is one thing to learn from The Scarlet Letter, it is not to give in to sin, and if you already have, own up to it and learn from it. After reading this novel, many may find themselves questioning, whose sin was the worst? Opinions may differ, but one character stands out from the rest. Minister Dimmesdale committed the worst sin, because not only did he commit adultery, he kept his sin hidden from the world, punishing himself; then, preaching the importance of repentance and forgiveness.
He adds hypocrisy and deceit to his sin, while his conscience slowly eats away at his soul. In Conclusion, Throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the effects of sin on the mind, body, and soul of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are all visible even though there are manifested in different ways for each character. Each of the three are living an enormous burden of sin and each reflects the inner torture inflicted by carrying around such sin in differing ways.