The Scarlet Letter

Essay by carlyrobertsHigh School, 12th gradeA-, November 2014

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Author Nathaniel Hawthorne believed that the source of evil can come in two forms; historic or psychological. Evil can penetrate a person in different ways, and from different causes. Some are struck by evil in a form of deceit, greed, or pride, as seen in Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth in the novel The Scarlet Letter. Evil can also strike a person in the form of political, social, or religious repression, as seen in Hester Prynne. Some, are able to overcome evil, and others grow weak from evil and are never able to overcome it. In this book, we are able to see that Hester is able to overcome her historic evil while Chillingworth and Dimmesdale are weakened by the evil within them.

In The Scarlet Letter Hester commits the worst crime known in the early Puritan society, adultery. When Hester becomes pregnant, and her crime is known, she is automatically repressed by the Puritan society.

In a normal case, adultery would be punished by a death sentence, but Hester's husband, Roger Prynne, is believed to have died at sea. We later learn that Roger is indeed alive, but returns to New England under a new identity, Roger Chillingworth. Hester is then forced to wear a scarlet A across her chest for the rest of her life. This type of punishment introduces a form of historic evil to Hester. The A gives Hester a new identity, in which she is shunned by the other Puritans of her village. Hawthorne, expresses the ridiculousness of a combined church and state through this action. Should the church be able to control law? At the time of Hester Prynne, many believed yes. The Puritan society was strict, and believed sinning was also breaking the law. On page 35 of the novel Hawthorne describes...