How Is Guilt Shown In The Scarlet Letter

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Guilt has, is and always will be something that costs the world untold despair, pain, and suffering. Nathaniel Hawthorne's renowned novel, The Scarlet Letter, is a story about a girl named Hester Prynne who makes the terrible sin of adultery with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, who is Salem’s town minister. Once Hester becomes pregnant it becomes clear to the whole town what she has done. Typically, when a Puritan committed the sin of adultery they would be killed, but because some of the townspeople believe her husband is dead Hester is able to live. This novel shows how Dimmesdale and Hester journey together and their struggle to overcome the guilt inflicted by their sin. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, guilt having negative effects is a…show more content…
Because of her sin she makes life a lot harder for herself and in a way makes sure she is reminded of what she did, everyday. One way this is shown is the way in which Hester reacts when the people of the down stare at her. "That one token of shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbors" (Hawthorne 43). Although Hester’s baby Pearl radiates comfort and security for Hester, it is also a reminder of the sin Hester has done. Whenever she feels ashamed or embarrassed, she clutches the baby tight in her arms just so she is able to bear the pain of guilt. Guilt having a very negative effect on Hester and the way she lives is shown through her insecurity. Hester further proves that guilt can have negative effects on a person by her reaction when she finds out that her long lost husband, Roger Chillingworth, is out for revenge of Reverend Dimmesdale's actions. Hawthorne writes in his novel that Hester will do anything for Chillingworth not to be successful in getting revenge on Dimmesdale (131). Hester did not just go out and commit adultery
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