Corruption In Scarlet Letter

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During pious Puritan times, a person was not worthy of respect without an honorable reputation. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, uses the, often horrible, decisions and reputations of characters to shape the story, moulding it into the classic novel both English teachers and students come to know and love. Nathaniel Hawthorne shapes characters such as Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale through their sins, their evolving mental and physical state, and their crippling lack of courage, their cowardice. Both Dimmesdale and Hester share together their sin, both commit adultery and suffer some sort of horrible punishment for their deeds. Though both characters are similar in what sin they committed together, their punishment…show more content…
Because of their fear and because of Hester’s condemning, both choose the easy way out; both choose to run instead of taking their punishment as they should. From the beginning, Hester shows a strange sort of cowardice. She refuses to tell the townspeople who the father of Pearl is, refuses to condemn Dimmesdale, to make his fate very similar to her own. She instead suffers alone, not only on the scaffold, but throughout the seven years Pearl went without knowing who her father is, all the way until Dimmesdale admits his atrocious sin. Not only does Hester never speak a word of Pearl’s father, but she also does not tell the true nature of Roger Chillingworth, once before her husband. While Hester continues to suffer publicly, Dimmesdale continues to live in hypocrisy. He continues to lie to his congregation, continues to lie to the townspeople whom put him on the highest pedestal. He lies all because he fears the confrontation. His fear of confrontation only further denounces himself as well as his courage. His lack of confession results in his loss of power, self esteem, and ultimately, his dignity. He falsely spreads the word of holiness and goodness, yet he has committed one of the worst crimes in Puritan society, the crime of
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