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The major themes in the scarlet letter by n hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter "Thus the basic theme of The Scarlet Letter seems to be man's moral struggle directed towards transcending human limitations.

It is the recovery of affections, or the assertion of the basic principle of being. It is sad and somber tale, tells about the struggle of morally and emotionally starved individuals, literal personifications of abstractions like knowledge and virtue, seeking for fullness of being. They are to be studied under the following heads: The theme of Damnation 2.

  • After he gives his election day sermon, he goes to the scaffold and asks Hester and Pearl to join him because he is so weak that he can hardly support himself 265;
  • He does not speak aloud of it to the public in general;
  • Dimmesdale's instantaneous response to the sin is to lie;
  • Hester is put to public disgrace and social boycott, her isolation leads to a moral deterioration;
  • No fewer than three times in the course of the novel does he repeat that idea;
  • It will not flee from me, for I wear no- thing on my bosom yet 192!

The theme of Frustration of Guilt 3. The theme of Sin, Crime and Punishment 4. The theme of Passion or Love 1. The description of the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in it is quite in keeping with the oldest and most full authorized principles in Christian thought.

His 'Fall is, to be sure, a descent from a state of apparent grace to damnation; he seems to begin in purity—he ends in corruption; he may have been a whole man— at his death, he is in a state of spiritual disintegration.

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

The subtlety of Hawthorne's view seems to be that the minister is his own deceiver; he is that truly damned man who convinces himself at every stage of his spiritual pilgrimage that his is really "saved".

More terrifying still, he is that rare man who is gifted with unusual powers of penetration into his own mind and soul. He constantly pries into his private world. He moves steadily towards his doom quite unaware of where he is, going. His fall is therefore, dire and irrefutable: He becomes, at the last, his own saviour and god, as well as his own demon and destroyer.

Dimmesdale is more wretched for the simple reason that he puts, up a false appearance—throughout his life. He is really a fallen angel trying to maintain divinity, though he has primarily lost it. His innocence is conscious and manipulated. His first words to Hester are in the form of an admonition to reveal, and yet not to reveal, the name of her fellow sinner. He has no courage to face the condemnation of the people.

He is thus morally a coward. Dimmesdale is, therefore, a ceaseless sufferer. On many occasions, he tries to confess his guilt: Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale in the protective gloom of the forest surrounding Boston have had their fateful reunion. While Pearl has been discreetly sent out hearing range, the martyred lovers have unburdened themselves. Hester has revealed identity of Chillingworth and has succeeded winning Dimmesdale's forgiveness for her previous secrecy.

Dimmesdale has explained the agony of his seven torment. Self-pity and compassion have led unexpectedly to a revival of desire; they affirm the purity of their deed.

This is what actually, apart from charting out the plan of escape, happens in the forest-scene. The sinful the major themes in the scarlet letter by n hawthorne of adultery, which is a guilt indeed, generates frustration in the lovers.

Dimmesdale is tormented inwardly, while Hester is tormented outwardly. Frustration, of course, is not the lot of Hester; it falls also on the head of Mr. But even Hester is not free from it. One may mark her nervous breakdown in the prison after she had stood, along with her child, on the scaffold. She is frustrated for a while in that the citizens of Boston have planned for the removal of Pearl from her guardianship.

But the timely and passionate interference of the young minister averts the fate. She is greatly shocked to see the reduced health and agonized heart and mind of the 'minister standing on the scaffold on the night of vigil. The greatest part of her frustration is the failure of her plan of escape because of Mr.

She fails to understand what to do until by way of luck, she finds herself joined by Mr. Dimmesdale, who makes revelations of the scaffold in the presence of the crowd. As regards the guilt of Mr. Dimmesdale, it is more tortuous to him and sits very close to his heart.

Only once is his life, he accepts, he has committed a crime against the law of society. He can find no rest, no mental peace.

  1. She is a single mother who suffers all of the burdens of parenthood by herself.
  2. The second form that it takes is "Angel. Hester has revealed identity of Chillingworth and has succeeded winning Dimmesdale's forgiveness for her previous secrecy.
  3. One important influence on the story is money.
  4. A final example occurs by the way Hester and Dimmesdale can not acknowledge their love in front of others. Neither Hester nor Dimmesdale ever told Pearl who her father was, but she figures it out by the way he always holds his hand over his heart 159.
  5. Frustration, of course, is not the lot of Hester; it falls also on the head of Mr.

The sin of adultery sends him to fasts, vigils, scourging, and penance, but his anguish is not abated. In the forest-interview he acknowledges the fact that he has had enough a penance but little of penitence. The worst kind of guilt on the part of Mr. Dimmesale is that though he knows he is sinful, he leads the life of a hypocrite in complete disguise.

He does not speak aloud of it to the public in general. And when by the way, he does so out of remorse he is taken in a different light.

Chillingworth's guilt is diabolical and intellectual. He eggs on his enemy dwelling always beside him. He adds to the misery of the minister every day. He keeps a close watch on his movements.

His life is revenge. The moment Dimmesdale, the harassed pry of his revenges dies, Mr. Whatever Chillingworth does is out of the feeling of guilt and revenge; he is greatly frustrated in his domestic life. So we see that each of the three main characters suffer, in some degree, from the sense of Frustration and Guilt in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, which may be said to form an important theme of it. By committing the crime of adultery, Hester Prynne has broken a great moral law and a long-established social convention.

Society, therefore, condemns her with the three hours standing on the scaffold and with the life-long wearing of the scarlet letter on her bosom. Hester is put to public disgrace and social boycott, her isolation leads to a moral deterioration.

Her acts of charity are not inspired by any sincere penitence. He is very much disgusted of it. He feels that he has broken a great law of morality and social code of conduct. No fewer than three times in the course of the novel does he repeat that idea. The sin saps his moral, spiritual and physical energies. It sits so heavy on his heart that his peace is gone.

What is the main theme of "The Scarlet Letter"?

His fasts, vigils, flagellations and scourging are of no avail. His sin leads him astray form the course of priesthood, and he becomes a victim of his own morbid imagination.

His vindictiveness dehumanizes him and turns him into a devil. He is a worse sinner than either Hester Prynne or Arthur Dimmesdale, for his design is retaliatory and he knows no forgiveness.

  1. The description of the Rev.
  2. It sits so heavy on his heart that his peace is gone.
  3. She is greatly shocked to see the reduced health and agonized heart and mind of the 'minister standing on the scaffold on the night of vigil.

A good-natured man would have easily pardoned a remorseful man like Dimmesdale. He is guilty of the Unpardonable Sin for which he pays the terrible price of complete physical and spiritual breakdown.

For him there is little hope of regeneration. But his punishment is surely more severe than that of Hester. His is the inner punishment as against the outer punishment of Hester. He suffers deep down in his heart. Dimmesdale is a greater sinner than Hester. First, he defiles the purity of his profession; secondly, he tries to conceal his crime from the public. He adds hypocrisy to his sin. But though hypocrisy can save him from social dishonor into which he is afraid he might fall after the exposure of his crime, it is helpless in remedying his spiritual hurts.

But these things do not give him any peace of mind. Quite different is the relation between Hester and Dimmesdale, or between the beloved and the lover. They have deep love for each other to unite them together. Although different agents — Chillingworth, society, law, morality — try to bring their real love to a disaster, they succeed but little in it. On the other hand, it makes the two lovers strong — morally and spiritually. Under the influence of this love, they grow to a tragic height of character which they otherwise would probably not have attained to.

Of course, they have to suffer a lot in the pursuance of their heart-felt love for each other. But the course of life, it is said, never runs smooth. The true test of a lover is in the fact that he or she does not waver in his or her love even though the world around murmurs in a hostile tone.

Hester and Dimmesdale, no doubt, come out with flying colors through the test through their unflinching devotion to each other.

Themes in The Scarlet Letter

The intensity of love reaches its height in the forest-interview between the lovers. Here the expression of Dimmesdale is deeply moving: After disclosing the identity of her husband to Dimmesdale, Hester assumes the role of a true beloved. She presses his head against her bosom until he grants pardon to her.

Then she talks of The consecration of their love-affair. Suddenly the sun shines on her Womanhood return.

  • His first words to Hester are in the form of an admonition to reveal, and yet not to reveal, the name of her fellow sinner;
  • Thus, the novel may be said to have love or passion as one of its themes round which its plot and events revolve.