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The Letter And Human Frailty Essay Research

The Letter And Human Frailty Essay, Research Paper

The Letter and Human Frailty

Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, tells a tale of human

frailty and sorrow through each and every character.

When you first meet Hester Prynne, the main character, she seems quite

innocent. Only guilty of not naming her lover. Yet she is treated like an evil demon by

the Puritan community of the 1700?s because she broke the seventh commandment

The way they yelled ?at the very least, they should have put the brand of hot iron on

Hester Prynne.? (Hawthorne 69) this is a perfect example of how the behavior of the

characters tells a story of human frailty and sorrow. Hester took great pride in

everything she did from the letter ?A? on her chest to the baby Pearl in her arms. It was

the pride of Hester Prynne that forced her to wear the Scarlet letter to her death. ?At

the final hour, when she was so soon to fling aside the burning letter, it had strangely

become the centre of more remark and excitement, and was thus made to sear her

breast more painfully, than at any time since the first day she put it on.? (Hawthorne


Roger Chillingworth, Hester?s husband, was a very old and educated man that

Hester didn?t love. Chillingworth was the most selfish in the story, he married Hester

without Hester?s love in return and this was one of the sins that refers to Hawthorne?s

?human frailty? . (Hawthorne 46) Poor Roger?s sins are clearly defined …?And it

seemed a fouler offense committed by Roger Chillingworth than any which had since

been done him, that, in the time when her heart knew no better, he had persuaded her

to fancy herself happy by his side.? (Hawthorne 172) Chillingworth?s attacks on

Dimmesdale were to make Dimmesdale weak and when he saw Dimmesdale?s Scarlet

letter on his chest he laughed instead if feeling for the poor desperate man.

Chillingworth was the sinner that goes with human frailty.

Dimmesdale, perhaps the most complex character in the book, is damned with

the guilt of his sin ?burn[ing] in secret? (Hawthorne), and damned by his desire for

Hester Prynne. Dimmesdale?s status as a minister made the guilt so bad it was making

him sick. He needed to be open and reveal his dark secret. Dimmesdale keeping this

sin hidden was his real sin itself, by far worse than Hester?s. Everyone could plainly

see what Hester had done because of the scarlet letter ?A? on her chest, but

Dimmesdale on the other hand has kept his sin under his clothes and it was literally

killing him.

In conclusion Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Hester were all sinners, some

sins worse than others. During this time period these sins were unheard of, that is why

they were treated the way they were. These characters were a perfect example of

?human frailty and sorrow?. Hester dying wearing the scarlet letter is the darkening