Essay Title: 

Scarlet Letter

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in literature and language

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Penned by Nathaniel Hawthorne , The Scarlet Letter is set in the puritan society of Boston in the seventeenth century and relates the story of two lovers committing the sin of adultery and being forced to face not only the censorious society they reside in but also a vengeful husband and their inner demons and restless conscience . Throughout the novel the one question that Hawthorne consistently raised was that of sin . Who [banner_entry_middle]

br is a sinner ? Who has the right to judge him ? On what basis , if any , can a person be branded by his fellow human beings ? This essay endeavors to decide who the greatest sinner in the novel is

Some people believe Hester to be the guiltiest of the three as she not only committed a sin of the flesh but also defied moral and religious principles by concealing the name of her lover and protecting the sinner . To some Reverend Dimmesdale is the greatest sinner as he continued to live a life of double standards and kept on preaching piety while concealing from the world his guilt . For me however , the greatest sinner , undoubtedly , is Roger Chillingworth . Hawthorne ‘s characterization of Chillingworth is deliberate as he sets about painting him as a malevolent , cruel , deceiving , sadistic and hard-hearted man driven only by a maddening desire to take revenge Therein , I believe , lays the greatest sin . Chillingworth sets about in his journey of revenge driven not by any hatred of the sin but by an incomprehensible hatred of the sinners . In my opinion , Chillingworth is the personification of the puritan society that took upon itself to judge and punish the crimes of others . He is , not for one moment motivated to punish the sinners for the sin they committed on moral or religious grounds but simply for selfish purposes , all of them springing from his burning desire for vengeance . Even his physical disfiguring seemed to correspond with the fire of hatred burning within his bosom

Hawthorne portrays him to be a calculated schemer . His revenge is practiced with such cold , morbid cruelty and heartlessness that he ends up becoming the most unsavory character of the novel . His words uttered at different episodes in the book serve to prove my point . For instance speaking to Hester about Dimmesdale ‘s predicament he said , A mortal man , with once a human heart , has become a fiend for his especial torment (p155 . At another point , the reader gets a glimpse of his cold blooded nature when he refuses to unmask Dimmesdale and admits his own morbid enjoyment of the torment he is inflicting on the Reverend by saying , Think not that I shall , to my own loss , betray him to the gripe of human law (p68

It cannot be denied that a few critics believe Dimmesdale to be the guiltiest character in the novel . Dimmesdale was made a pious character not to show a character… [banner_entry_footer]


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