Please explain the connections between the major themes and characters in "The Scarlet Letter". which theme is represented by each character? For example, Chillingworth is associated...

Please explain the connections between the major themes and characters in "The Scarlet Letter".

which theme is represented by each character? For example, Chillingworth is associated with evil...

Asked on by elenimeg

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timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Everything ms-mcgregor has offered is fine, but I don't think that Dimmesdale is a hypocrite.  This seems like a difficult argument to make considering that he hides his sin; but hiding ones sins doesn't make on a hypocrite.  As I have said (perhaps too often), Dimmesdale's identity, perhaps even his being,  depends on his identity as minister.  He continues to minister not so that he can pretend to be something that he isn't (my definition of hypcracy), but because of who he is.  It's hard to feel for a hypocrite; I have always felt for Dimmesdale.  I trust not all will agree.

I am also suspicious when an author tells me what "moral" to take from his/her story :)

ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It is rare that an author tells his audience the theme of his novel, However, in the last chapter, Hawthorne writes that one moral of this story is,"Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred." In other words, don't try to hide your sins from others. Both Hester and Dimmesdale exemplify this theme. By hiding his sin, Dimmesdale deteriorates because of his shame and eventually dies while trying to confess his wrongdoing. Hester, whose sin is out in the open, changes and becomes stronger. In the end, even the meaning of the scarlet letter changes to 'angel". Chillingworth, too, is an example of this because he hides his need for revenge. Once, Dimmesdale is dead, Chillingworth shrivels up because he has no more reason to live. Another theme closely connected to the first is the results of hypocrisy. Dimmesdale is the best example of this because he wants everyone to believe his is a saint yet he is hiding a terrible sin. However, Chillingworth is also a hypocrite because he pretends to be a caring doctor when all the time his motive is revenge against Dimmesdale. The novel has other themes. For those see the link below.

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