Hypocrisy in the Scarlet Letter
“Truth was the one virtue which I might have held fast… save when thy good – thy life – thy fame – were put into question.” These words spoken by Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter display her practice of situational morals and hypocrisy. Hawthorne displays this major element of human nature, hypocrisy in all characters save young Pearl who is blatantly unique from most people. Dimmesdale, Hester, and the entire Puritan community are hypocrites, and their hypocrisy manifests itself in the conflict of this novel. Hawthorne created a drastic difference between the inward and outward lives of everyone in this story and they can be related to the hypocrisy present in modern society. People never change,
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While she loves Dimmesdale enough to suffer life in Boston with the scarlet letter without retreating beck to England, she allows him to be tormented by Roger Chillingworth for seven years, without informing Arthur that Chillingworth is the man she was married to. It was in Hester’s silence that she allowed the man she loved to be tormented by her vengeful husband. Chillingworth mentally tormented Dimmesdale to the point where Dimmesdale came to physically abused himself, it is by Hester’s hand that this happens for if she had been honest with Dimmesdale Chillingworth would not have been able to affect Dimmesdale’s emotional balance. Her only reasoning behind keeping the truth about her husband away from Dimmesdale was an oath she took to Roger who she no longer loved. In England, Hester originally took public vows to love Roger for the rest of their lives, but after her brief time in Boston she decided to betray Roger by having an affair. Hester sacrifices everything for her only daughter Pearl who she loves, she does everything possible to raise her on her own. However, by keeping her affair with Dimmesdale a secret, she denies Pearl the chance to grow up with a father not only hurting Pearl but also herself and Dimmesdale.
This story takes place in a hypocritical society. Puritanical society said that they followed the Bible but they lived in a way following the relentlessness of Jonathan Edwards’ speech