Secrets. We Have Them, We Hide Them, but Can We Live With Them? Refers to "The scarlet letter" by Hawthorne

Essay by Simon AlbonA, November 1996

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Secrets. We Have Them, We Hide Them, but Can We Live With Them?

Deception is defined by Webster's Dictionary as the art of misrepresentation. Throughout the history of mankind, the use of deception to promote oneself to a higher level, or to hide one's past, has been a common occurrence. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne , Chillingworth and Dimmesdale both use deception to hide secrets from each other, and from the rest of the town.

Hester Prynne is the only one who knows the secrets that Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are hiding from the townsfolk. Hester has to control her desire to tell the truth and practices the art of deception to hide these secrets. When she will not reveal the father of Pearl, Reverend Dimmesdale says, 'She will not speak.' It is ironic that the person who committed the sin with Hester is the one who announces publicly that she will not reveal the name of the other sinner.

Later, Chilling worth wants to know who it is and he says, 'Thou wilt not reveal his name?' Hester refuses and continues to hold her silence. Then Chillingworth, still trying to find out the name of her lover, comments, '. . . but Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both! Who is he?' When he says this, he is hinting that he is going to do something to Dimmesdale. This is why Hester makes Chillingworth promise not to kill her lover if he finds out his identity. Chillingworth deserves to know who slept with his wife, although Hester should not have had to tell him. I think that Dimmesdale should have admitted that he was Pearl's father. Today, if a priest admitted such a crime, he would probably be sent to jail. However, in the...