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Scarlet Letter: Who Should Punish A Sinner? Religion, Society, Or Individuals Essay, Research Paper

Scarlet Letter: Who Should Punish A Sinner? Religion, Society, or Individuals

Who should punish a sinner? Should it be religion, society, or the

individual? In Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter all three affect the main character

Hester Prynne. Religion punishes her with the Scarlet Letter, society

ostracizes her as punishment, and individually she was able to move on in life

but still returned to her haunting past where she died.

Religion plays a big part in the Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne wore the

Scarlet Letter to remind her of the mistake ahe made. Instaed of taking Pearl

away the people wanted her to wear the “A” for adultry. Hester brought up her

child forcing the the thought of the heavenily father. Hester’s whole lifestyle

was altered. She obeyed everyone and for seven years was cursed by standing on

the scaffold. The people’s beliefs strongly enforced the idea that Hester would

wear the Scarlet Letter, so she did. It constantly forced the tought of the sin

she had commited and would haunt her for good. “I have thought have death,” said

she, – “have wished for it, – would even have prayed for it, were it fit that

such as I should pray for anything.”

Society was an influence on the scarlet letter. People of the town

believed that Hester was a witch as well as sinner. Society ostracized her

because no one in the town had ever delt with any kind of sin as adultry so they

looked at her as a witch. The people in a way wanted to ruin her life because

people actually thought she was bad. One of the real canadites that wanted to

ruin Hester was Mistress Hibbins.

Through out the whole story Mistress Hibbins constantly gives Hester her

piece of mind.

“Thou thyself wilt see it, one time or another. They say, child, thou art of

the lineage of the Prince of the Air! Wilt thou ride with me, some fine night,

to see thy father.”

Individually she was ostracized and critizied no matter where she went.

As time went on she helped the people proving there was a true side to Hester

Prynne. That led to the “A” no longer standing for adultry but for able. When

all had been coming together for Hester it proved that her punnishment from the

people had turned to a compliament. This shows that individually she was able to

handle the heat of the people. When she became real strong she was able to move

on with life but she faced the fact that her life would never be the same if she

didn’t move back to her haunted town full of dreadful memories. So she did, and

that’s were she died. “I know not! I know not!” she hurridly repeated.

“Better? Yea; so we may both die, and little pearl die with us!” As we know the

conclusion Hester did indeed die and lay next to the one she loved, the minister.

Who should punish a sinner? Should it be religion, society, or the

individual? In Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter all three affect the main character

Hester Prynne. Religion punishes her with the scarlet letter, society

ostracizes her as punishment, and individually she was able to move on in life

but still returned to her haunting past where she died. It proves that

individually a person hurts themself more then anything. Hester could live on

anywhere else, her life wouldn’t be the same.


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