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Good and Evil in the Scarlet Letter

  • Date Submitted: 06/05/2011 06:48 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 34.8 
  • Words: 6027
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Hester Prynne commits adultery with honorable minister Arthur Dimmesdale and was punished by having to wear a scarlet letter A in her breast. However, she is a brave woman and lived in disgrace for years. She tried to work hard. Finally she became admirable and her life eventually acquires a real significance when she reestablishes a meaningful relationship with her fellowmen. Symbolic of her moral development is the gradual, imperceptible change, which the scarlet letter undergoes in meaning. The scarlet letter “A” shows the evil and punishment, which nothing can hide that and the pain is in Hester’s heart.

    Arthur Dimmesdale was a sinner in secret. He tried to hide everything because he was an honorable minister. However, in Hawthorne’s eyes, everyone is sinner, even the minister cannot be an exception. Dimmesdale was suffering the spiritual torture by himself and ran up all of his energy and talents and finally he admitted his sin and released in death. He represents the hypocritical figure. He was also a sinner but with the pressure of the society he was too afraid to admit everything he had done. He understood his evil and shameful side, but he was afraid of being overlooked. He wished he could live happily with Hester and Pearl like normal people, but he was afraid of losing his religious and political condition in the society. He was a puritan but he also loved Hester. He had ambivalence in his heart and didn’t know what to do.
    The narrator makes an interesting claim here about the general nature of women. It seems to argue that they either remains tender all their lives and die from such tenderness, or life crushes the tenderness within them and they are no longer women as a result. It’s the “either/or” argument here that really stumps us. In this way, we get a sense of just how hard it must have been to be a woman (or a man, for that matter) in mid-17th century Boston. It seems like a woman’s lot in life is pretty much destined to one of two...

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