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In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses his feelings of sin through his characters actions and thoughts. His style shows no boundaries as he takes the reader into a world of sin and unrighteousness. The characters with the worst reputation are Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. During their life, the choices they make are not only sinful but also unjust towards other people. Roger Chillingworth (husband of Hester) is a man who is created with hatred and revenge who spends most of his life in turmoil.
For example, his sin of revenge keeps him isolated from society like a black sheep. He is so mad and furious that he can not be around other people or else he may hurt them. Roger wants to get back at Arthur so bad that all of his thoughts are isolated in him as well. In addition, Roger becomes hideously ugly and twisted even in his physical appearance. His thoughts and the way he feels starts to work its way outward to his body. Any man who felt the state of Roger s displeasure would have probably turned into a Zombie or a walking corpse.
Furthermore, he no longer has God in his life and therefore is possessed by the evil one. When a person, especially like Roger loses his faith in God the rest of life will seem worthless and misleading. After Roger loses his faith he decides to just switch sides of his religion and goes with the wrong side of the totem pole. Roger Chillingworth is transformed from an okay guy to an ugly, deceiving, and ungodly man during his array of scenes in this novel. Arthur Dimmesdale (man of God) has a secret lover who he tries to conceal but later is able to say her name openly. For example, he felt constant pity for himself during every step that he took.
When Arthur could not go through a single day without pity then he became a raggedy old man loathing in himself. His sin of secrecy made his life a living hell and it showed throughout the rest of his life. In addition, Arthur would beat himself up with a whip to try to beat the sin out of him. It is hard to just stand there when somebody is whipping you but to do it oneself is ludicrous. He must have felt real sorrow for what he had done so he thought he deserved punishment. Furthermore, Arthur eventually died from sorrow and heartache and from being an old withered man.
Everyone dies but some people die earlier than others do because they can not bear to feel the same ever again. When a person has so much pain wrapped up inside them they feel like they will explode into a million pieces. Arthur was a man of God to begin with and when he dies he regains his glory and accepts God back into his heart. Everyone s sins all resulted from one main character who wore an A upon her bosom and her name is Hester Prynne (wife of Roger). For example, Hester Prynne was persecuted by all the townspeople for her sin. No one in the community would let it go they had to keep on talking about her behind her back.
Making her stand upon the scaffold was enough but no everyone had to put in their two cents worth. In addition, Hester had a baby from her secret lover and now everyone knew for sure that she committed adultery. Rumors can spread that she had done the dirty deed with another but there is no proof without a witness. The proof is the baby because the baby is all the evidence that will prove this women has had sex with some man other than her husband.
Furthermore, Hester Prynne s will power and self-respect for herself changes towards the end of the novel. She becomes more trusting in herself and can actually look in the mirror without cringing. Many people in the community now even have respect for her and come to get advice in tough citations that they think she could handle. Hester Prynne is a very strong woman with a lot of compassion and can take any hand that has been delt to her and come out a winner in the end. The effects of sin have a lasting image on these characters attitudes and actions. Even though these images are not ones that many people would like to remember they are still there under the skin.
Once a sin has been acted on it cannot be forgotten as easily as it was committed. As Nathaniel Hawthorn said it is better to reveal sin in shame than to keep it inside for pride.
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