Scarlet Letter - Dangers of Hidden Sin
Uploaded by WelshHanny on May 15, 2002
Sin is something society has had to deal with since mankind has known evil. In most circumstances, the sin only becomes a problem when it is kept within and manifests into something larger than it was in the first place. Keeping secrets is a detriment to one’s life, which in a larger picture affects a whole society. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, secret sin is a predominant theme, which in this novel leads to changes in both emotional and physical being. In the early days of the Massachusetts colony, they are neither welcoming nor accepting of sin or different ideas and are wary of anything that may topple their pristine atmosphere. Evil should never be kept secret because it always leaves a mark.
Hester Prynne hides a significant amount of sin inside of herself, which only adds to sins that have been made an issue of public interest. Committing adultery is Hester’s announced sin, and all her secret sins are results of this one instance. A sin, which is closely related to her sin of adultery, is who the father of Pearl is. She refuses to tell even under extreme pressure, “I will not speak! And my child must seek a heavenly Father; she shall never know an earthly one (47).” We later learn that the father is Arthur Dimmesdale, and these miscommunications cause a barrier between them. Her refusal consequently denies any hope of reconciliation between the two for an extensive period. Hester also conceals that Roger Chillingworth is her husband. This pains her because she must helplessly watch his evil ways take toll on Dimmesdale. However, Chillingworth’s punishment of Dimmesdale goes against he and Hester’s agreement. Hester promised to keep both Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s identities hidden or Chillingworth would seek out Hester’s secret lover, Dimmesdale, and kill him. Hester causes the townspeople to become forgiving people by her many good deeds; this changes the “A” symbol on her dress to become perceived as a symbol for Angel rather than Adultery.
Arthur Dimmesdale lives a life of hidden sin and he changes because of it. He too has a committed adultery, but due to his position in society he does not need to suffer the wrath of society. His sin leads him to torture himself in various ways. This self-torture is something that leads from guilt of keeping secrets, these actions show that Dimmesdale is does feel...