The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that deals with the theme of national morality. The book was published in 1850, during a time when the United States was debating the issue of slavery. The novel centers around the character of Hester Prynne, who is accused of adultery and must wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest as punishment.
The story examines the Puritan values that were prevalent in America at the time, and how they affected the lives of those who lived under them. The Scarlet Letter is an important work of American literature because it provides insight into the country’s moral development during this period.
From the dawn of history, man has congregated together to better meet the demands and interests of individuals. The notion of a common benefit was formed as institutions were created to govern these communities. The obligation of the community in developing a feeling for national morality is at the heart of the concept of a collective good. Should this morality come from government or religion? Perhaps individuals should be responsible for forming their own ethics.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne examines the formation of national morality and how it affects the lives of individuals within a community. The idea of a collective good is first introduced when Hester Prynne is led to the scaffold to be publicly humiliated for her affair with Dimmesdale.
The Puritans, who are in charge of the government at this time, believe that Hester has sinned against both God and society and must be punished in order to uphold their sense of morality. However, many people in the crowd do not agree with this form of punishment and think that it is too harsh. This disagreement among the citizens highlights the difficulty in establishing a single morality for an entire nation.
The issue becomes even more complicated when Hawthorne introduces the character of Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale is a respected member of the community and is also Hester’s lover. He refuses to admit his guilt publicly and instead suffers in silence, which many people see as a form of bravery. The conflict between the two characters illustrates the different ways that people can interpret morality.
The Puritans believe that Dimmesdale is brave for not admitting his guilt, while others see him as a coward for not taking responsibility for his actions. This disagreement highlights the difficulty in creating a single morality for an entire nation. The issue becomes even more complicated when Hawthorne introduces the character of Chillingworth. Chillingworth is Dimmesdale’s doctor and also knows about his affair with Hester. He decides to take revenge on Dimmesdale by slowly poisoning him.
The conflict between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale illustrates the different ways that people can interpret morality. The Puritans believe that Chillingworth is immoral for taking revenge on Dimmesdale, while others see him as a brave man for standing up to someone who has wronged him. This disagreement highlights the difficulty in creating a single morality for an entire nation.
The issue becomes even more complicated when Hawthorne introduces the character of Pearl. Pearl is Hester’s daughter and she is seen as a symbol of sin. The Puritans believe that she should be punished for her mother’s sins, but Hester disagrees. This disagreement highlights the difficulty in creating a single morality for an entire nation.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne examines the issue of national morality. With a thorough analysis of the book’s main characters and an understanding of Hawthorne’s underlying ideas, one may form an opinion on national morality.
The Scarlet Letter is a work that forces the reader to confront their own morality and question whether Hawthorne’s view of national morality is accurate. While The Scarlet Letter is set in Puritan New England, the characters and story are universal in their application.
The ideas of national morality and hypocrisy are not unique to the Puritans or America; they are human failings that exist in all societies. Hawthorne’s use of these concepts allows The Scarlet Letter to remain relevant centuries after its publication. The work continues to be read and studied because it asks difficult questions about morality and human nature. In particular, The Scarlet Letter raises the question of whether national morality is possible or desirable.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a passionate abolitionist and social reformer. His work The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850, just five years before the outbreak of the Civil War. The Scarlet Letter is set in Puritan New England, a time and place where Hawthorne himself had ancestors.
The Puritans were a religious group who emigrated from England to America in order to escape religious persecution. The Puritans believed that they were chosen by God to create a model society based on their reading of the Bible. The Puritans were known for their strict moral code and rigid social structure.
The central characters of The Scarlet Letter are Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, and Pearl. Hester Prynne is a young woman who has been convicted of adultery and forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest as punishment. The father of her child is unknown, and Hester will not reveal his identity.
Arthur Dimmesdale is a respected minister in the Puritan community. He is also the secret father of Hester’s child. Roger Chillingworth is Hester’s husband who has been away for many years. He returns to find his wife pregnant and sets out to discover the identity of the child’s father. Pearl is Hester and Dimmesdale’s daughter. She is wild and unruly, a constant reminder of her parents’ sin.
Hawthorne uses these characters to explore the idea of national morality. The Puritans are a representation of a society that is based on a strict moral code. The character of Hester Prynne is used to show the hypocrisy of the Puritans. Hester has committed the sin of adultery, but she is not the only one who is guilty. Dimmesdale, the father of her child, is also guilty of adultery.
However, because he is a respected minister, he is not forced to wear a scarlet letter and is able to hide his sin. The character of Roger Chillingworth represents the vengeful and judgmental side of Puritanism. He devotes himself to finding out the identity of Hester’s lover in order to punish him. The character of Pearl represents the innocent victims of Puritanism. She is shunned by the community because of her parents’ sin.
Hawthorne is critical of the Puritans and their form of national morality. The Puritans are hypocrites who condemn Hester for her sin while hiding their own sins. They are judgmental and vengeful, as represented by the character of Roger Chillingworth.
The Puritans are also unfair to the innocent victims of their morality, as represented by the character of Pearl. Hawthorne’s view of national morality is that it is not possible or desirable. He believes that national morality leads to hypocrisy, judgment, and vengeance. Instead, Hawthorne advocates for a more personal form of morality.