Literary Analysis Essay On The Scarlet Letter

It is frequently noted that Hawthorne’s preoccupation with sin springs from the Puritan-rooted culture in which he lived and from his knowledge of two of his own ancestors who presided over bloody persecutions during the Salem witchcraft trials.It is difficult for readers from later times to comprehend the grave importance that seventeenth century New Englanders placed on transgression of the moral code.

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We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. That old man’s revenge has been blacker than my sin.

He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart. Always more concerned with the consequences than with the cause of sin, Hawthorne to a remarkable extent anticipated Sigmund Freud’s theories of the effects of guilt.

The other, which is closely related to the first, is the relationship between men, and of man to humanity as a whole. Only be giving yourself totally to His devotion can you escape hell's gapping, flaming mouth. Religious leaders spit out so many fearful images that the people had no choice but to follow "God's" will.

Many of Hawthorne's works center around what is right or wrong, and the consequences of breaking the basic links between humans by committing acts of sin. Now imagine that even after all that fire and brimstone, you decide to do it your way anyway. "Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town?

The characters in are reminiscent of a number of Hawthorne’s shorter works.

Dimmesdale bears similarities to Young Goodman Brown who, having once glimpsed the darker nature of humankind, must forevermore view humanity as corrupt and hypocritical.

Again like Freud, Hawthorne recognized that spiritual turmoil may produce physical distress.

Dimmesdale’s health fails and eventually he dies from no apparent cause other than guilt.

Such alienation needs no fire and brimstone as consequence; it is in itself a hell.

There is a certain irony in the way in which this concept is worked out in as a symbol of her adultery.

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