The Bondage Of Sin The Scarlet Letter

The Bondage Of Sin (The Scarlet Letter) Essay, Research Paper The Bondage of Sin After reading three stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, The Minister?s Black Veil, and Young Goodman Brown, a topic of Hawthorne?s viewpoint on the bondage of sin arises, as the subject is so intently tied into each of the above stories.

The Bondage Of Sin (The Scarlet Letter) Essay, Research Paper

The Bondage of Sin

After reading three stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, The Minister?s Black Veil, and Young Goodman Brown, a topic of Hawthorne?s viewpoint on the bondage of sin arises, as the subject is so intently tied into each of the above stories. Hawthorne insinuates that within every human soul there lurks a dark evil side: a side that can?t resist the temptations that come to pass in every man?s life, which lead to a decline in health. However, he selects characters in each of his stories that sympathize with the reality of their sin and try to mend the error of their ways, or escape from the terror they face through a merciless conscience and a heavy heart. Hawthorne combines symbolism and irony subtly to make the main characters in each of the stories shed light upon the ?secret guilt of others? (p. 33), shifting the original pointing of fingers.

Dimmesdale, Hester, Chillingworth, Mr. Hooper, and Goodman Brown are the five main people who were seen as sinners. Hester and Dimmesdale had a sin of the flesh, where they lusted after one another. Chilligworth?s revenge upon Dimmesdale ?violated the sanctity of the human heart? (p.134). Mr. Hooper had a publicly unknown sin although the town was aware that he did have one. Goodman Brown literally took a walk on the wild side with the Devil, and ergo his sin. Although each individual sinned equally in God?s eyes, the mortal punishment they faced was determined through the confessions of their sins. The only person that immediately told of her sin was Hester, and she is the only one that was portrayed as being free from her guilt. Father Hooper only partially admitted to his sin through the symbol of his black veil; he never actually said what it was, and this brought upon the deterioration of his stature. All of the others had a decline in physical performances as well as their mental sanity.

Once Dimmesdale, Goodman Brown, and Mr. Hooper had sinned, they were all trapped in ?the saddest of all prisons, [their] own hearts? (p. 306). Each lived in solitude and brought misery upon every moment they had in the mortal world, except for Hester who had confessed her sin from the beginning. Hawthorne says that Goodman Brown was left ?in the heart of the dark wilderness? (p. 30), but, in truth, he was left in the dark wilderness of his heart, where he had to face the guilt which would continue to haunt him. Dimmesdale lived with his unyielding conscience, which deteriorated his body and soul until his death.

As Goodman Brown and his fellow traveler walk down a path leading to sin, Goodman Brown feels skeptical of what eternal doom he is about to encounter. He is reminded of his wife, Faith, who is his faith, his ticket back into the realm of Godliness. Later, all of the ?venerable [saints]? (p. 34) from the town were present in this secretive, yet, ironically well known meeting place for the same ?evil purpose? (p. 25). Goodman Brown realizes that even his sweet, innocent wife, Faith, who was so ?aptly named? (p. 24) is amongst those in the dark forest. This shocking reality check ironically manifested itself through a dream. While Hester walked through the town, she felt others watching her ?ignominious brand as if half of her agony were shared? (p. 59). This ?gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts,? (p. 59) just as Goodman Brown ?felt a loathful brotherhood by the sympathy of all that was wicked in his heart? (p. 32). As Father Hooper laid in his deathbed he looked around the room and saw a ?black veil on every visage? (p. 307). As the characters introspected themselves, they began to see that the rest of the people in the town were no better than they were. Their eyes were opened with understanding as they saw that other guilty hearts were escaping a just due punishment.

Hawthorne intimates that all men are born into total depravity, and when they try to mask the sin that lingers within their souls and peeks behind every corner of the conscious mind, this takes a great toll on the health of the individual, both mentally and physically. They begin to detest themselves more than the sin itself. The author hints that if sinners reveal their sin, a weight will be lifted from their hearts, as Hester was able to move on with her life because she publicly wore a symbol of her sin. Those that fail to confess will live with the inner turmoil and be miserable souls. Hawthorne also touches upon the matter that we are all sinners and no one should be put in the spotlight with their sins flashing before the town because others are guilty of the same or similar sins. If one person has to publicly display a symbol of their sin, then so must everyone else!