Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne: Whos sin is worse

Essay by wakestud0726High School, 11th gradeA, December 2004

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Let me begin by quoting the most read book ever, the Bible. "Jesus does equate committing adultery with having lust in your heart (Matthew 5:27-28) and committing murder with having hatred in your heart (Matthew 5:21-22)." This excerpt from the Bible implies that all sins are equal, but only in the eyes of God. Sins, when not viewed through the eyes of God, however, can be worse than others. In The Scarlet Letter, there was a plethora of sins committed. Hester Prynne's sin, of course, was committing adultery with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Roger Chillingworth's sin on the other hand, was the hidden torturing of Dimmesdale. Both are sins and nonetheless viewed equal in the eyes of God. One of these sins though is more horrendous than the other. It is clearly insinuated in the text that the sin committed by Mr. Roger Chillingworth was more egregious than that of Mrs.

Hester Prynne.

The reason to indulge into sin for Hester compared to Chillingworth has contrasting intentions. Hester's sin was committed with love, not hate, as its intent. She married


Chillingworth without loving him, and therefore it is natural for her to seek someone she loves. She had no intentions of hurting anyone. Chillingworth on the other hand is interested only in the deliberate destruction of Dimmesdale rather than trying to right the wrongs which have been committed by Hester and Dimmesdale. No good can come out of Chillingworth's sin because torturing someone emits no positive outcome.

Hester is quoted as saying, "A mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a fiend for his especial torment (page 168)." It is also said "She thought of those long-past days...when he used to emerge...and sit down in the firelight of their home, and in the...