The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter and the Nature of Sin College

From Genesis, the true nature of humanity has been closely associated with sin. While the Puritans vehemently believed that sin degraded both God and human beings, in the Scarlet Letter, it is the very nature of transgression and the resulting scorn which bestows extraordinary powers upon the sinners. For Hester, being made an outcast in such a restrictive society frees her from the conventional feminine role and gives her the ability to observe the nature of Puritan Boston as an outsider. While Dimmesdale’s sin remains repressed, his experience allows him to understand the very truth and nature of human sin and makes him into a far more effective orator in spite of his inner turmoil and ultimate destruction.            

“For years...she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions...all with hardly more reverence than an Indian....The tendency of her fate ...had...set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread...Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers...” (p. 1413.) The intention of the scarlet letter was to belittle and shame, to serve as an example to all under the...

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