English 3H, Period 4
1 September 2014
Good and Evil
"Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other" (Burdon). The novel The Scarlet Letter perfectly illustrates this point using complex and intricate characters that mirror reality with both positive and negative aspects of their personas. The story begins in mid-17th century New England with Hester Prynne being publicly humiliated for having a child out of wedlock. She is branded with a scarlet letter "A" as an adulterer but refuses to disclose who the father is. Soon after, Hester's former husband shows up under the pseudonym of Roger Chillingworth and makes Hester promise not to tell anyone who he is as he tries to hunt down her lover. As the story progresses, the reader and Chillingworth discover the identity of Hester's beloved as the minister, Arthur Dimmesdale. As Chillingworth begins to psychologically torment Dimmesdale, He progressively becomes more ugly, evil, and twisted. In his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the symbolism of the scarlet letter to convey that within each person exists the capacity for both good and evil.
First, Hawthorne utilizes the scarlet letter to assert that from all evil, some kind of good is blossoms, whether it is drastic or subtle. Even the most unfavorable of situations, such as carrying the burden of the scarlet letter, yields an advantageous quality of some sort. For example, as the plot of the story begins, the women of the town are slandering Hester Prynne for her misdeeds and discuss ways to punish her and brand her as an adulterer. While the unforgiving women attempt to scorn her, Hester enters the scene from...