Critical Essay of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne ( Do you dread guilt?)

Essay by -=ET=-College, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

download word file, 3 pages 3.7

What is guilt? We all have guilt about something. Maybe forgetting something,

lied about something, or even did something that shouldn't of been done. In The Scarlet

Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne we saw guilt fester in the minds and outward appearance

of the main characters, Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth.

When you hear the word guilt what do you think it means? Guilt means

remorseful awareness of having done something wrong or of having failed to do

something required or expected. Does that sound about right? Guilt is something

everyone has. Its this mental manifestation that lets us know when we did something

wrong but no one knows it yet. Guilt is very powerful. Some people after awhile give in

to this guilt and confess what they did.

In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale commit a great sin.

Because of this great sin, it causes them immense guilt and sadness though out the rest of

the book.

One of the main character's that is affected the most is Arthur Dimmesdale.

Dimmesdale handles it in a different way though, to him its more of a 'concealed sin.' A

example of this is, 'It may be that they are kept silent by the very constitution of their

nature. Or - can we not suppose it - guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal

for God's glory and man's welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy

in the view of men; because, thenceforward, no good can be achieved by them; no evil or

the past be redeemed by better service.' Dimmesdale also has another reason for his

concealing, he wants to remain silent so that he can continue to do God's work as a


Hester Prynne handles her guilt in another...