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Word Count: 2,741
Guilt in The Scarlet Letter Generally guilt would be expected to weaken ones character however in some cases it can actually strengthen ones character In The Scarlet Letter Hester and Dimmesdale both experience guilt for their sin of adultery An illegitimate child results from their sin and since Hesters husband has been away for years the members of the community know she is an adulteress but they do not know who her partner in sin is Hester takes the full blame for their sin so over time she is able to conquer her guilt and gain back the communitys respect Dimmesdale goes on with his normal life keeping his guilt to himself and eventually he has to break down and confess In contrast to Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne develops Hester to prove that guilt may strengthen ones character rather than weaken it Adultery is a sin that tends to result in a lot of pain and suffering for the small amount of happiness that goes with it Hester and Dimmesdale realize this fact too late to prevent these consequences Carpenter posits that according to the traditional moralists Hester Prynne was truly a sinful woman Although she sinned less than her hypocritical lover and her vengeful husband she nevertheless sinned and from her sin death and tragedy resulted 285 Hester and Dimmesdale could not predict that a pregnancy would come out of their sin making it punishable by the community and they could not anticipate the problems their sin could cause They acted out of love without thinking about the situation thoroughly Although it the love which unites Hester and Dimmesdale is disastrous in that it wrecks all possibilities for happiness in their lives it matures them morally and spiritually under its influence they grow to a tragic height of character which they otherwise would probably not have reached Sandeen 303 Hester is able to show her strength of character and
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