The Scarlet Letter - Consequences and Remedies of Din

The Scarlet Letter shows many types of sin. Some is only sin in the Puritan eye, some is internally blamed sin and some is sin only defined back in the time period of pre-Romanticism. Three main characters; Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are the 'sinners' of the Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorn gives each one very different a consequence and remedy for each ones sin. Hester is publicly punished right away, Dimmesdale has to dwell on his sin for years and Chillingworth is punished abruptly when his sin comes to an end. Each punishment is different and holds its own lesson.

Hester was forced into the marriage of a man she did not love, and after being separated for a long amount of time, she became attracted to another man. She then falls into a spell of passion with Reverend Dimmesdale. She then becomes pregnant with Dimmesdale's baby, obviously revealing her 'sin'. She is sent to the Scaffold to be mocked by all and is forced to reveal the father of the child. She refuses and then for her sins, received a scarlet letter, "A" which she had to wear upon her chest for the rest of her life in Boston. She wondered the streets and was given bitter looks from all. This was the Puritan way of punishing her for her then criminal action of adultery.

The Scarlet Letter on her bosom does the exact opposite of that which it was meant for. Eventually, Hester upsets all the odds against here due to her courage, pride and effort. Hester goes beyond the letter of the law and does everything asked of her in order to prove that she is "able"(158).

Hester, even though she was more appreciated by the Puritans, she still was not respected and her life was never the same. This eventually caused so much mental and physical anguish that she eventually questioned why she should live if it weren't for her Pearl. Pearl was a bundle of life sent from god to remind her of her wrong doing each and every moment and as a walking sermon to preach against sin for others. The symbolic Pearl helped Hester overcome her guilt.

Hester becomes a highly respected person in a Puritan society by overcoming one of the harshest punishments, the scarlet letter. After Dimmesdale's passing away, she remains in the small Boston town as payment of her sin and more importantly as an example to other future women of the town. Hester endures her punishment without a word against it, and grows from it, making her stronger and a woman to be admired from her puritan counterparts, and women today.

While Hester tries to make the best out of her situation, Dimmesdale becomes weaker by letting guilt and grief eat away at his conscience, reducing him to a shriveling, pathetic creature. Since Dimmesdale is a devote Puritan, he cannot accept the loss of innocence and go on from there. He must struggle unsuccessfully to get back to where he was. Dimmesdale punishes himself by believing that he can never be redeemed. He feels that he will never be seen the same in the eyes of God, and that no amount of penitence can ever return him to God's good graces.

He is so touchy on this subject that when Hester says his good deeds will count for something in God's view, he exclaims, "There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead and can do nothing for me!" (202). The Reverend seems to want to reveal himself, at times he realizes his double standards and comes to the verge of confession, only to goes back to vague proclamations of guilt. But Chillingworth's influence and his own shame are stronger than his weak conscience. Dimmesdale cannot let go of his untarnished identity that brings him the love and admiration of his congregation. He is far too engaged on his everyday image to willingly reveal his sin. This inability to confess causes Dimmesdale great anguish and self-hatred. At one point he lashes himself with a whip, and at the end of the book we find that he has inscribed the letter "A" into his own chest. Dimmesdale also believes that his sin has taken the meaning out of his life. His life's work