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The Scarlet Letter

Hester and Dimmesdale plan to escape from the tyranny of Puritan society, but their plans are foiled by Chillingworth who books passage on the same ship. To escape the clutches of Chillingworth, Dimmesdale mounts the pillory with Hester and Pearl and acknowledges his daughter and, thereby, finding salvation. He dies as Pearl grants him a kiss. Chillingworth, robbed of the target of his revenge, dies a year later.

The themes of sin, evil, and redemption pervade The Scarlet Letter. Hester and Dimmesdale have sinned and both will pay penance for their sins. However, Hester and Dimmesdale find salvation because their sin was committed out of passion and based on love. In contrast, Chillingworth does not find salvation for his sinful actions are evil and based totally on revenge. The Scarlet Letter seems to suggest that evil stems from the close relationship between love and hate. There is no evil in Hester and DimmesdaleÆs making love or even in the misguided actions of the ignorant Puritan town fathers. However, the carefully plotted and precisely directed revenge of Chillingworth is evil. While Hester and DimmesdaleÆs actions are accountable to earthly authority, the revenge of Chillingworth is unaccountable to earthly authority because of it remains evil in nature.

The lovemaking of Hester and Dimmesdale creates enormous suffering for both Hester and Dimmesdale. Hester remains will


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The Scarlet Letter. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 04:43, October 25, 2014, from
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