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Conflict of Internal and External Demands on Individuals Well-Being

In this sense, despite their greater well-being together, Arthur and Hester suffer greatly from not adhering to the external demands on behavior and moral conduct in Puritan society.

One interesting note about the conflict of internal and external demands on individual well-being in the Scarlet Letter seems to be Hawthorne's view that the hypocritical moralists of Puritan society, like Hester's husband Roger Chillingsworth, are guiltier than those who follow their true feelings. Hawthorne implies that Chillingsworth's inability to forgive and his torment of Dimmesdale are far worse transgressions against a higher source of external demands for individual well-being. As Dimmesdale tells Hester, "We are not the blackest of sinners...That old man's revenge has been blacker than my sin. He has violated in cold blood the sanctity of a human heart" (Hawthorne 170). For ultimately individual well-being, Hawthorne seems to be saying that no internal or external demands should violate the sanctity of the human heart.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Penguin, 2002.


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Conflict of Internal and External Demands on Individuals Well-Being. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:49, July 22, 2017, from
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