The Scarlet Letter / The Greatest Punishment

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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The novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the many conflicts, sin, and guilt of three people in a love triangle. The minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, commits adultery with a beautiful young woman, Hester Prynn. They bring into the world their princess, little Pearl. The governor punishes Hester because she didn¡¯t have a husband and she got a child. The governor makes Hester wear a symbol of shame, ¡°The Scarlet Letter A¡± on her bosom. The towns people, not knowing that the minister was the child¡¯s father, criticize and talks bad about Hester. As part of the punishment, Hester, with Pearl in her arms were to stand on the scaffold without Arthur. Arthur Dimmesdale was respected by many. Young virgins were attracted to him, and old people believed that he would die before them. When Arthur tells the communion that he was a sinner and that he was not pure, the communion did not pay attention to what he had said.

Arthur pays the consequences of his sins by guilt, solitude, and sorrow.

Arthur Dimmesdale does not play much of a manly role. When Hester Prynn went up the scaffold, he too should¡¯ve been up there with Hester but he chose not to. He refuses to reveal his true identity that he was the father of Pearl; He had many chances to tell the people that he was the father of Pearl but he just left it as is. On the walk to the marketplace for the election, Arthur does not even look at Hester. This shows us that he is afraid of how others think, and that he couldn¡¯t hurt his pride by telling people that he was the father. Arthur always held on to his heart, and he had a Scarlet Letter A carved on his...