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Word Count: 1,271
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about the trials and tribulations of Hester Prynne a woman living in colonial Boston Found guilty of adultery Hesters punishment is to wear a visible symbol of her sin the scarlet letter A Through the book the reader comes to know Hester the adulteress Dimmesdale the holy man Hester had the affair with and Chillingworth the estranged husband of Hester who is out for revenge The Scarlet Letter examines the interaction of these characters and the reaction of these characters to Hesters sin Although Hesters sin is at first supposed to be adultery in fact adultery is just one of the many bases Hawthorne could use to build the story around The underlying sin that Hawthorne deals with in The Scarlet Letter is hypocrisy Hypocrisy is the practice of professing beliefs feelings or virtues that one does not hold or possess All three main characters Hester Dimmesdale and Chillingworth commit the sin of hypocrisy Hawthorne shows that hypocrisy is indeed a sin by punishing the offenders Hester Prynne is a strong independent woman who deals with her sin of adultery very well Instead of running away from it she lives with it and accepts her punishment However while succumbing to the will of the court she does not for an instant truly believe that she sinned Hester thinks that she has not committed adultery because in her mind she wasnt really married to Chillingworth Hester believes that marriage is only valid when there is love and there is no love between Hester and Chillingworth In the prison defending her actions against him she declares Thou knowest thou knowest that I was frank with thee I felt no love nor feigned any 74 Then later speaking to Dimmesdale Hester further imparts her belief that she has not sinned saying What we did had a consecration of its own We felt it so 192 Therefore Hester in her mind has
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