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A Plea for Truthfulness in "the Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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The story, the Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne published in 1850, may be viewed through many different lenses, however Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth project moral values in a powerful description of good and evil to show that if one is true to themselves they will live a simpler life with happy consequences.


Throughout The Scarlet Letter Hester lives with disgrace and is always mocked by the towns people. There are many instances of characters not being true to themselves. If you are not true to you’re self the guilt can lead to total breakdown. Reverend Dimmesdale suffers for not being true to himself. The governor chooses Reverend Dimmesdale to be the judge of Hester. This shows that the people think he is righteous so he feels he has no choice but to hide for the sake of the people and what they believe in. Then instead of admitting his sin of adultery to the public, he keeps his secret to himself, knowing it will burn inside of him until he reveals it to the public and to pearl especially. The only thing worse in the Puritans society than committing a terrible sin is not admiting to it. Hester admits to her sin but Dimmesdale does not. Hester faces her sin and does not hide from the consequences. Nathaniel Hawthorne states, "Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!” Hester is an example of how being true to one's self can make you stronger unlike chilling worth and dimmesdale who are dishonest.


Seven years after Hester first stood on the scaffold, Dimmesdale stood on the scaffold before God. Dimmesdale was too cowardly to stand on the scaffold during the day and to cowardly to acknowledge hi...


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his sin he committed. He had spent last seven years of his life torturing the

reverend and now he had nothing to live for. After Dimmesdale dies upon the

scaffold, Chillingworth does very little with the rest of his life, and dies a year after

the death of the reverend. This shows how obsession can make a man so mad

that his only reason to live is to see another in shame.



Hawthorne points out how hiding ones sin can lead to a personal downfall. Reverend Dimmsdale hides his sin from the public and becomes consumed with guilt, while Hester Prynne reveals and lives openly with her sin, but becomes stronger. Hester showed throughout her kindness, charity, and truthfulness that if one is true to them self they will live a simpler life with happy consequences and Dimmesdale knew he had to do the same for him to be in peace.









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