Hester Prynne In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Famed English poet Edmund Spenser once said, in his sonnet Fairy Queen “Her angel’s face, As the great eye of heaven shined bright. And made sunshine in the shady place” (brainyquotes.com). The image this quote calls to mind is an almost perfect picture of Hester Prynne’s daughter, Pearl, in The Scarlet Letter, an 1850 American Romantic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In stark contrast to Pearl is Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s former husband, who devotes the rest of his life to revenge on Pearl’s unknown father, after finding out about Hester’s affair. Her father turns out to be the conflicted pastor of their strict Puritan community, Arthur Dimmesdale. This revenge turns Chillingworth into a figurative devil. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne…show more content…
When he is talking to Hester in prison, he asks her to keep his real identity a secret. Hester says “ ‘I will keep thy secret, as I have his’ “ (74). His whole identity is a lie, and by having Hester keep his secret, he is just furthering her along the path to damnation, because lies are the opposite of salvation. Now Hester is not just lying for one person, she is lying for two! She can never be free from her sin until she tells the truth about Pearl’s father and that Chillingworth is her former husband. These lies will also have a negative effect on Chillingworth because they will turn him into a devil. Seven years later, having kept both secrets very well, Hester meets Chillingworth in the forest and begs him to give up his revenge on Dimmesdale. He refuses and she says “ ‘There is no good for him - no good for me - no good for thee! There is no good for little Pearl!’ “ (170). The revenge that Chillingworth plans is ruining himself, Hester, Dimmesdale and Pearl. Hester has realized the impact of his lies and begs him to give up his revenge. He refuses, even though he sees the evil of his actions, because he is too consumed by his hatred for Dimmesdale. This hatred has made him a
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