The Corruption Of Sin In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is based on the corruption of sin and the ability to overcome that sin through recognition and repentance. Three key scenes throughout the novel take place on the scaffold to symbolize acceptance of sin, repentance, and revelation of sin to the people of Boston. The first scaffold scene takes place in the beginning of the story when Hester Prynne is holding her child, Pearl, over her bosom on the scaffold in front of a public community that is terrorizing and mocking her. She faces the crowd of people in public humiliation. However, even though the Scarlet A is shown to represent her sin of adultery, Hester unexpectedly shows no embarrassment of it but instead the complete opposite. For example, as Hester was continuously asked to confess who the father of the child was and in return might be allowed to take off the letter if she, she said, "It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And…show more content…
This scene focuses on Dimmesdale's guilt and punishment. Even though it is the middle of the night and no one is in the town square to see Dimmesdale, he still feels as though people are looking at the A that he wears inside his chest. Dimmesdale is still not fully ready to admit to his guilt but is haunted by the horrors that might come out of his repentance. For example, when Dimmesdale refused to stand with Pearl and Hester on the scaffold in public, she said, "Thou wast not bold!—thou wast not true! . . .Thou wouldst not promise to take my hand, and Mother's hand, to-morrow noontide!" (Hawthorne 190). Dimmesdale fears that if he confesses his sin to his people, he will not be able to conduct anymore powerful sermons for the people and could not help them. He is scared to face the public humiliation when that is exactly what he needs to release the pain and weight from his heavy sin that is cooped up inside of
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