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Word Count: 586
Often in Society people are criticized punished and despised for their individual choices and flaws In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne the author attempts to show the way society casts out individuals simply because their ideas differ from the common values Two main characters in the novel that are alienated by society for different reasons include Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne Arthur Dimmesdale alienates himself in the novel both socially and spiritually He knows he cannot let his secret out about Pearl so he has no one to share his pain with All the guilt he has stored up in him slowly eats away at him deteriorating his body and soul Dimmesdales pious attributes greatly contribute to the extent of his alienation For the reverend it was essential to his peace to feel the pressure of a faith about him This need for punishment coupled with religious devotion gives reason for Dimmesdales secrecy Hiding his intimate self from other people bestows Dimmesdale the punishment he so desperately seeks His mental breakdown stems from his social alienation Arthur tortures himself until it eventually leads him to act irrationally Dimmesdales psychological agony partly stems from a form of spiritual alienation As a minister he has a close realtionship with God and has a strong sense of spirituality Due to his sin his relationship with God suffers in a way that his sin seperates him from the teachings of Jesus Without the virtue and purity he once held Dimmesdale views himself unworthy in the eyes of God While lying on the forest floor Dimmesdale utters The judgement of God is on me he is too mighty for me to struggle with To close this gap of isolation between God and himself Dimmesdale commits acts of penance to relieve his sin Dimmesdales faith and his position as a minister makes him more susceptible to spiritual alienation Hester Prynnes main form of alienation is most obvious
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