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Word Count: 672
In The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the hypocrisy of the Puritan society of the seventeenth century with the story of the downfall and redemption of Hester Prynne The hypocritical Puritan society punishes Hester for committing adultery However in her own mind she does not see her actions as a sin because she acts out of love Furthermore she redeems herself by turning her offense into a virtue Through the tale of Hester Prynne Hawthornes moral is that the sin is not in adultery but in the persecution of love by the society The Puritan society persecutes Hester Prynne for committing adultery while the persecutors themselves are guilty of hypocrisy Hawthorne exposes the true two-faced mind-set of the Puritans through their regard of corporal punishment The society shall have grown corrupt enough to smile instead of shuddering at it 39 Hawthorne inserts his own commentary averring that the society is corrupt enough to smile at Hesters punishment He even mentions that it is more common to shudder tremble at such a scene rather than view it as a form of entertainment The authors style is very straightforward in criticizing the Puritan culture Thus the Puritan society is hypocritical in punishing Hester Prynne because they themselves are not acting with Christian charity In her own mind Hester Prynne is not guilty of the crime for which she is being punished To her love is not a sin but a right She is a free soul and she does not believe that the societys laws are right to punish her for following her heart Hesters unrelenting love for her fellow adulterer is portrayed in the quote I will not speak answered Hester turning pale as death but responding to this voice which she too surely recognized 47 Here she refuses to denounce the name of her lover and sacrifices herself to spare him the punishment Hawthorne employs the simile pale as death to stress Hesters fear
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