The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne Summarize the emotional paradox in the Scarlet Letter.

Essay by BigCUniversity, Master'sA, December 2003

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A classic by any definition, The Scarlet Letter is a constant reminder that no sin goes unpunished. For Hester Pryne punishment was instilled upon the center of her being by a blood scarlet 'A' upon her chest. Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered by many to be the master of the short story and leaves very little to be desired by this production. Based in Salem Massachusetts located in a Puritianistic town cloaked by harsh limitations and strict prejudices, Hester Pryne is forced into public humiliation due to her unwed pregnancy - a violation of Puritan formative regulations. A sin such as this could not go unpunished or unannounced. Hester's husband is presumed dead and thus it is impossible for him to be the legitimate father. Who then is the accessory to the crime of passion? Hester Pryne conceals the identity of her accessory to avoid his punishment by the harsh Puritan law.

She is therefore condemned to wear the scarlet 'A' on her chest forever. Yet, even in error we find human nature respects those who admit mistake and accept the consequences.

Surprisingly, Hester's husband, Roger Pryne, who was thought to be deceased arrives at the colony and takes up residence as the local physician. Under the assumed name Roger Chilling(s)worth, he converses with Hester and swears her to secrecy about his true identity. This is partially out of his vanity as he is ashamed of the fact that his wife is carrying the child of another man and also so he can stealthily comb the colony and discover the identity of his nemesis. Hester stands firm to her convictions even with her legal husband and will not divulge the identity of her lover. Roger Chilling(s)worth is a product of his own decision-making. He chooses to take a wife a generation...