Scarlet letter: a story of sinners

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Penned by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter is set in the puritan society of Boston in the seventeenth century and relates the story of two lovers committing the sin of adultery and being forced to face not only the censorious society they reside in but also a vengeful husband and their inner demons and restless conscience…

Introduction


Some people believe Hester to be the guiltiest of the three as she not only committed a sin of the flesh but also defied moral and religious principles by concealing the name of her lover and protecting the sinner. To some Reverend Dimmesdale is the greatest sinner as he continued to live a life of double standards and kept on preaching piety while concealing from the world his guilt. For me however, the greatest sinner, undoubtedly, is Roger Chillingworth. Hawthorne's characterization of Chillingworth is deliberate as he sets about painting him as a malevolent, cruel, deceiving, sadistic and hard-hearted man driven only by a maddening desire to take revenge. Therein, I believe, lies the greatest sin. Chillingworth sets about in his journey of revenge driven not by any hatred of the sin but by an incomprehensible hatred of the sinners. In my opinion, Chillingworth is the personification of the puritan society that took upon itself to judge and punish the crimes of others. He is, not for one moment motivated to punish the sinners for the sin they committed on moral or religious grounds but simply for selfish purposes, all of them springing from his burning desire for vengeance. Even his physical disfiguring seemed to correspond with the fire of hatred burning within his bosom.
Hawthorne portrays him to be a calculated schemer. ...
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