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Essay on Defining Crime In The Scarlet Letter

Define “crime. ” Define “sin. ” Are all crimes sins? Are all sins crimes? Explain your response using examples from your education and current events. Crime is breaking a law that is in place by the government and that a person could be put it in jail for. A sin is breaking a moral law that a person would not go to jail for but may receive punishment for, and committing sins is commonly associated with religions. For example, in the Puritan society there is little separation between religion and law so adultery is first considered a sin but then adulterers are punished as if it was a crime (Ch. 2, 42).

In today’s society adultery or cheating on your significant other is still considered a sin but it is not acceptable to openly punish the adulterer. Not all crimes are sins because a crime that is committed may not affect other people and may have reasoning behind it. All sins are not crimes because many actions that could be considered sins are not breaking any laws. Many times committing sins can lead to crimes being committed later on, for example if someone found out that someone they loved betrayed them they can feel inclined to get revenge. Overall, all crimes are not sins and all sins are not crimes.

Describe how each of the following characters feels about Hester’s crime (one paragraph per character): Hester herself, Chillingworth, Dimmesdale. Be sure to include specific detail from the text with documentation (chapter and pages). In the beginning of the novel Hester accepts her crime and punishment. Which is seen when she is first put on the scaffold, the narrator states, “an action marked with natural dignity and force of character, and stepped into the open air, as if by her own free will” (Ch. 2, 42). Even though Hester is described a being brave the look of fear is also visible on her face as she olds Pearl tightly (Ch 2, 43).

As the story evolves the townspeople show less direct disdain towards her but she still feels that they are still all looking upon her with judgement. The townspeople were less harsh with her but she still expected at any moment to be punished by the townspeople because she dealt with it for years. This is shown when Hester is standing in the crowd in front of the scaffold as Dimmesdale is about to announce the long awaited truth (Ch. 23, 195). The only time when Hester feels free is when she is in the woods with Pearl and Dimmesdale because she can escape the judgment from he townspeople (Ch. 7, 148).

When Hester is in the woods she rips off the scarlet letter from her chest and lets her hair down, which shows that before that moment she was consumed by her sin and felt she could only be herself when she was in the woods (Ch. 17,150). Chillingworth makes it obvious to Hester that he will get his revenge on her after he gets his revenge on Dimmesdale. Chillingworth expresses his anger when he states, “It irks me, nevertheless, that the partner of her iniquity should not at least, stand on the scaffold by her side.

But he will be known-he will be known! he will be known! ” (Ch. 3, 50). Chillingworth’s need for revenge is most likely out of feelings of sadness because even though he had not seen Hester in years he is still hurt by the fact that Hester committed adultery and had a child. It is possible that Chillingworth may show a small amount of pity towards her since he did not quickly attempt to exact his revenge on Dimmesdale. It took a number of years which shows he was not extremely determined to harm Hester.

Chillingworth was the obvious antagonist in the novel but the rest of the characters were also flawed and had a capacity for vil. The thing that sets Chillingworth apart from the rest of the characters is that he knew that his intentions were not good and would harm. Other characters, for example, Hester and Dimmesdale, did not completely realize that their actions were hurting others. Dimmesdale most likely feels responsibility for Hester’s crime and punishment and that is made obvious by the extreme guilt he feels and his worsening physical and mental condition.

An example where Dimmesdale shows his guilt is when he is standing on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl because he esperately wants to share the truth but he is considered a “Saint” by his congregation (ch. 12, 115). Dimmesdale’s worsening condition is also because Chillingworth is exacting his revenge on him. Dimmesdale’s sins show that even a holy person has the capacity for sin because waiting so long to share the truth did not only hurt him but also Hester. Dimmesdale’s sins hurt Hester because for years she was harmed by all of the townspeople and Dimmesdale stands by as she takes the abuse.

Dimmesdale silence also deprived Pearl of a father figure for the early developmental years of her life. The fact that Pearl did not have a father figure might have been one of the many reasons as to why Pearl did not get along with other children. Also, the fact that the only other parental figure she had in her life was constantly shamed is most likely another reason that Pearl might not have gotten along with other children is Does Hawthorne like Hester Prynne? Explain. Before answering, be sure to look at his comments about her in the novel, particularly his treatment of her in chapter 13, “Another View of Hester.

Hawthorne does like Hester Prynne because throughout the ook he showed her pity and expressed disdain for the Puritan society. When Hester is first presented on the scaffold Hawthorne expresses how she appeared ready to accept her punishment with dignity and the rest of the townspeople were judging and saying she should get worse punishment (Ch. 2, 42). From that example it is easy to see that Hawthorne admired her courage. Hawthorne also mentioned how long after her punishment first began she still asked for nothing back from the society even though they treated her horribly.

An example is, “Hester never even put forward the humblest title to share in he world’s privileges. ” (Ch. 13, 125). Even though Hester is a flawed character she is still the protagonist of the story. One of the reasons Hawthorne may have had Hester be treated so horribly is because he was trying to show the dark side of the Puritan society. Hawthorne also most likely wanted to show why religion and law should be separated, because nothing good comes out of it. Is there anything we as a society can learn from the Puritans? Are there values they held that we have perhaps lost that might improve our society now? Explain.

Something we can learn as a society from the Puritans is to not se one person in the community as a scapegoat because then all the blame will be placed on one person. That will allow people that are also committing sins to not receive punishment. Many values that the Puritans had most likely would not improve our society now because there was little to no separation between religion and law which there needs to be in today’s society for a functioning democracy. An example of the little separation between law and religion is when Hester’s punishment was being decided and Dimmesdale was on the board of people that made the final decision (Ch. , 40).

Little eparation between religion and law causes people that committed sins to be punished as if they committed an unforgivable crime. Also, in a strict religion it is likely that a person will be harshly punished for allegations against them even though it might not be true. (Religion and Politics). If today’s community treated religion and law the same way the Puritans our society would not as well. There are so many religions in America today that if our society followed the rules the Puritans did then only one religion would rule over all the others and only one group would truly be represented.

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