The Conflicts in the Scarlet Letter

Essay by velo116High School, 10th gradeA, August 2002

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Webs of Conflict

The Scarlet Letter is a book that centralizes on the importance of being true to one's feelings. Because the main characters of the novel were not true to their feelings, a long series of conflicts arise from the situation. Internal conflicts of admitting guilt or sin trouble most of the characters, as they all have a sin in which they must decide whether or not to profess. External conflicts like fate and pressures of society oppose the will of the characters. The Scarlet Letter contains both internal and external conflicts, which hamper the well being of the main characters.

Internal conflicts exist only in one's mind or conscience. Such as is the case of Reverend Dimmesdale. Reverend Dimmesdale finds himself torn between his lover and his congregation. The Reverend torments himself daily on whether or not to admit his sins with Hester. On the one hand, Dimmesdale has an obligation to be with his lover, but on the other hand, he does not want to face the judgment of his peers and his congregation.

Similarly is his conflict of whether to continue his sin. He asks himself whether he should say, "Forgive me. It will never happen again" or, "Forgive me, but I must stay with her." Like the Reverend's internal conflict, Hester also questions herself on whether or not to admit not only who the father of Pearl is, but also who her real husband is. What troubles the real husband of Hester (Chillingworth) is why did an old deformed man like himself try to marry a young, vibrant, beautiful woman like Hester. Also, the young Pearl caught in between the messy relationships must decide if she will accept Dimmesdale as her father. Not only did these internal conflicts slow the resolution of their problem, but...