The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a classic novel of sin, guilt, and redemption. The story is told through the eyes of Hester Prynne, an adulteress who lives in Puritan Boston with her illegitimate child. The main theme of The Scarlet Letter is shame, which often appears alongside its companions guilt and fear . The most obvious example is Hester’s Scarlet Letter, which causes her shame, but it can be argued that another prominent theme is religion.
The three main characters, Pearl, the Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are all religious in different ways. The novel addresses the guilt felt after committing a sin of passion and how our society deals with crimes of passion today. The setting plays an important part in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne because of the time period. Hawthorne creates this world where Puritans live their lives punishing themselves for sins they committed.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered to be one of America’s greatest novels because it shows the dark side of human nature when with guilt, fear, and shame are involved. The novel addresses social issues of the time period which still exist today (i. e. , the Puritan society, adultery, and punishment for crimes). The Scarlet Letter can also be seen as an allegory because it tells the story of The Fall of Man using The Scarlet Letter A . Nathaniel Hawthorne uses this theme to characterize Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter.
It is ironic that The Scarlet Letter was not only Nathaniel Hawthorne’s greatest work but also his most popular since he was constantly mocked by critics. Nathaniel Hawthorne used his life experiences to create The Scarlet Letter. He grew up in Salem, Massachusetts during the 1800s which meant he experienced all of the similar events that were discussed in The Scarlet Letter. The theme of The Scarlet Letter is so powerful because Nathaniel Hawthorne lived the life of Hester Prynne.
The novel is filled with symbolism, allusions, and irony which makes The Scarlet Letter so open for readers to interpret. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was meant to be an allegory at first but it did not change the fact that The Scarlet Letter was still considered very controversial among American people (which will always include Nathaniel Hawthorne ). As a result, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne opened the door to more literature about social issues like adultery because The Scarlet Letter broke boundaries during its time.
The purpose of The Scarlet Letter is to show the nature of sin, and that sin has consequences. The Scarlet Letter also shows that evil deeds come from within a person’s own self or from another person’s desires. The Puritans were greatly affected by their religion and The Scarlet Letter shows this religious point of view through Arthur doing his utmost best to be a “Good Man” in the eyes of God, but he fails due to Hester being at fault for having an affair with him. In pre-World War II America The Scarlet Letter was considered an American classic.
The only thing wrong according to reviewers at this time is that there are too many words (Ripley 295). The book was criticized for the lack of romance in it, The Scarlet Letter was a dull love story that should have been more passionate. The novel was a very vile and crude portrayal of life in The New World during The Puritan Period, which would cause problems if young people read this as it shows how the puritans were extremely religiously intolerant, which they opposed from others to their own kind.
The Scarlet Letter is an example of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cynicism as the story only focuses on the negative side of The Puritan Period instead of showing what was good about it through Arthur Dimmesdale being a minister that tries his best to help those around him. The style that Nathaniel wrote The Scarlet Letter in makes it difficult for many readers because he writes in a confusing manner he becomes too descriptive with “The Procession” and “The Sermon”, he also does not use the names of The characters in The Scarlet Letter until chapter seven.
The style that Nathaniel wrote The Scarlet Letter in is a reflection on his own writing abilities since he only wrote one major story in his life, The Scarlet Letter is considered to be Nathaniel Hawthorne’s greatest work of literature. In The twentieth century The Scarlet Letter was criticized for being written too well, according to The New Yorker critics this novel was so good it could have been written by a woman (Ripley 296). The reason why The New Yorker thinks this way is because Hawthorne’s descriptions are very detailed and give vivid images when describing things such as Arthur Dimmesdale’s body language during his sermons.
The Scarlet Letter is also criticized for being too religious in The twenty-first century, The novel was viewed to be better suited for The Victorian Period because Nathaniel Hawthorne focuses more on The Puritan ways instead of the story itself. Some criticism in The twenty-first century thinks that The Scarlet Letter could have been written by a man because Nathaniel does not give much mention about Hester’s pain after she gives birth to Pearl, this argument has no basis since Nathaniel never stated he wanted to write about The pain of mothers when they experience childbirth or pregnancy.
Critical Essays On The Scarlet Letter “American Ideals in The Scarlet Letter” by Jeptha R. Simms states that one cannot derive an understanding of Democracy without the inspiration of The Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter is an example of The Puritan’s beliefs that are thought to be considered The American Ideals today in The United States, The morality exemplified by characters in The novel can still be seen in America through The virtue of forgiveness.
Hester Prynne is the embodiment of the virtue of forgiveness when she becomes good friends with Pearl after Dimmesdale dies, and people who have wronged her throughout The novel are forgiven despite their differences with them. “Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter And The Boston Strangler” by John L. Cobbs states that Nathaniel Hawthorne was greatly affected by his ancestors being killed at The Salem Witch Trials during The Puritan Period which led him to write about it years later.
The Scarlet Letter is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s way of showing The Puritan Period for what it really was, The novel shows The Puritans as extremely intolerant people towards The Native Americans and The Quakers even though The Puritans thought they were better than everyone else due to their religious beliefs. The American Ideals in The Scarlet Letter are shown through the virtue of forgiveness since The characters in The novel can be considered very forgiving despite their differences with one another.