How is hypocrisy shown in The Scarlet Letter?

Hypocrisy is shown in The Scarlet Letter through the treatment of Hester Prynne. Discovered to have committed adultery, she has been publicly humiliated by being exposed as an adulteress before the community. She's also been forced to wear a large scarlet letter "A," which marks her out as an adulteress. Even if the townsfolk knew that Dimmesdale was Hester's lover, they still wouldn't treat him in the same way.

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Puritan Boston is presented in The Scarlet Letter as being steeped in hypocrisy and double-standards. When Hester Prynne is found to have committed adultery, she is ridiculed and essentially cut off from society. Publicly exposed as an adulteress and forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" that confirms her status...

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Puritan Boston is presented in The Scarlet Letter as being steeped in hypocrisy and double-standards. When Hester Prynne is found to have committed adultery, she is ridiculed and essentially cut off from society. Publicly exposed as an adulteress and forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" that confirms her status as a pariah, Hester is ostracized from her community and treated as an outsider.

Such treatment was all too common in those days for women who transgressed against the narrow moral code of Puritan society. Women who committed adultery were regarded as having broken God's law, and that was about as serious as it got at that time and place.

However, men who committed adultery, such as Dimmesdale, were not treated in the same way. Women were invariably blamed for adultery; they were brazen temptresses who seduced men from following the path of righteousness.

That being the case, Dimmesdale can expect not to have to undergo the same punishment as Hester if his sins should come to light. His reputation will be damaged, to be sure, and he will lose some face among the local community. However, he won't be publicly humiliated like Hester, nor will he be forced to wear a scarlet letter.

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