The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about the tests and trials of Hester Prynne, a adult female life in colonial Boston. Found guilty of criminal conversation, Hester ‘s penalty is to have on a seeable symbol of her wickedness: the vermilion missive “ A. ” Through the book, the reader comes to cognize Hester, the fornicatress ; Dimmesdale, the holy adult male Hester had the matter with ; and Chillingworth, the alienated hubby of Hester who is out for retaliation. The Scarlet Letter examines the interaction of these characters and the reaction of these characters to Hester ‘s wickedness. Although Hester ‘s wickedness is at foremost supposed to be adultery, in fact criminal conversation is merely one of the many bases Hawthorne could utilize to construct the narrative about. The underlying wickedness that Hawthorne trades with in The Scarlet Letter is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the pattern of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtuousnesss that one does non keep or possess. All three chief characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, commit the wickedness of lip service. Hawthorne shows that lip service is so a wickedness by penalizing the wrongdoers.
Hester Prynne is a strong, independent adult female who deals with her wickedness of criminal conversation really good. Alternatively of running off from it, she lives with it and accepts her penalty. However, while yielding to the will of the tribunal, she does non for an instant truly believe that she sinned. Hester thinks that she has non committed criminal conversation because in her head she was n’t truly married to Chillingworth. Hester believes that matrimony is merely valid when there is love, and there is no love between Hester and Chillingworth. In the prison, supporting her actions against him, she declares, “ Thou knowest, thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any ” ( 74 ) . Then, subsequently, talking to Dimmesdale, Hester farther imparts her belief that she has non sinned, stating, “ What we did had a consecration of its ain. We felt it so ” ( 192 ) . Therefore, Hester, in her head, has non committed a wickedness. The fact that she accepts the courtaa‚¬a„?s determination so meekly and wears the vermilion missive denoting her as an fornicatress is the first manner in which she is hypocritical. Hester, although she does non believe she has sinned, portrays herself as a evildoer by have oning the vermilion missive without ailment. Over the resulting old ages, Hester endures the shame and ridicule brought approximately by the vermilion missive. However, the true beginning of the shame and ridicule is non adultery, but her wickedness of lip service. If Hester had non been hypocritical, if she had alternatively told the townsfolk how she genuinely felt, so possibly she would hold earned their regard and non hold forced to undergo the humiliation and penalty of the vermilion missive. Hester ‘s credence of a false wickedness is non the lone hypocritical act she carries out. Another manner in which Hester is hypocritical is her understanding with Chillingworth to maintain his name a secret. Hester, even though she claims to love Dimmesdale, agrees with Chillingworth to maintain Chillingworth ‘s name and mission secret ( 76 ) . Hester is responsible for the hurting that Chillingworth causes Dimmesdale, because she allows him to come in Dimmesdale ‘s house without warning Dimmesdale.
Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester ‘s spouse in criminal conversation, is another character who is punished for his lip service. Dimmesdale is a curate, one whom the people look up to for counsel and way. The people consider him about sinless, the perfect theoretical account which to follow. The townspeople idea of him as “ a true priest, a true religionist, with the respectful sentiment mostly developed, and an order of head that impelled itself strongly along the path of credo ” ( 120 ) . Believing him to hold committed the grave wickedness of criminal conversation, Dimmesdale ‘s duty is to step down from his clerical place or at least acknowledge his wickedness to the populace. Alternatively, Dimmesdale hides his wickedness and really uses Hester ‘s wickedness in his discourses. A “ true priest ” would non conceal his wickedness from his fold, as Dimmesdale does. The fact that Dimmesdale hides his ain wickedness while elaborating on Hester ‘s wickedness, which is really the same, makes Dimmesdale a dissembler. Dimmesdale is non merely hypocritical to his fold, but to Hester every bit good. Dimmesdale commits an act of criminal conversation with Hester. He does so procure in the cognition that he loved her, and she loved him. However, when it comes clip to pay for their actions, Dimmesdale declines. Dimmesdale refuses to mount the scaffold with Hester to admit the wickedness. Dimmesdale, although professing his love for her, refuses to be associated with her. Hester explains this to Pearl, stating “ [ Dimmesdale ] will be at that place, kid. But he will non recognize thee to-day ” ( 224 ) . Dimmesdale ‘s refusal to be associated with Hester is cowardly, as is his refusal to mount the scaffold. It is hypocritical because he claims to love her, but he wants to maintain that love secret.
Roger Chillingworth, the hubby of Hester Prynne, is the 3rd character who commits the wickedness of lip service. Chillingworth ‘s lip service is directed towards the pattern of medical specialty. All physicians are supposed to care for their patients, harmonizing to the Hippocratic Oath. Chillingworth, a physician, should adhere to this curse, but alternatively he breaks his vows and consciously uses his accomplishment to ache his patient, Dimmesdale. For Chillingworth, it is a affair of retaliation, but that does non warrant his treachery of the vows which he took. Boasting to Hester, Chillingworth relates how he enjoyed tormenting his patient ( 168 ) . When Hester asks him if he has n’t tortured hapless Dimmesdale sufficiency, Chillingworth responds, “ No! — no! — He has but increased the debt! ” ( 169 ) . The fact that Chillingworth takes pleasance in his patient ‘s uncomfortableness while at the same clip claiming to be a doctor of the highest quality makes Chillingworth a dissembler. He is punished by Hawthorne for his lip service. Hawthorne makes Chillingworth deformed, both physically and mentally. Chillingworth has been gnarled with age, but his mental status is worse. He has turned into a adult male set on retaliation, with no respect for anything except satiating his thirst for retaliation. Chillingworth returns to put incrimination of his ain present malformations on Dimmesdale. Harmonizing to Chillingworth, it is Dimmesdale ‘s mistake that he, Chillingworth, is a “ monster. ” Aside from being hypocritical towards his medical specialty, Chillingworth is hypocritical sing Hester every bit good. Chillingworth admits to Hester that he is to fault for their hapless matrimony. He says, It was my folly! The universe had been so depressing! My bosom was a habitation big plenty for many invitees, but lonely and chill, and without a family fire. I longed to inflame one! And so, Hester, I drew thee into my bosom, into its inmost chamber, and sought to warm thee by the heat which thy presence made there! ( 74 ) . Chillingworth goes on to acknowledge that he has no desire for retribution against Hester: “ I seek no retribution, secret plan no immorality against thee. Between thee and me, the scale bents reasonably balanced ” ( 74 ) . Later on, Chillingworth shows that he was lying when he says “ I have left thee to the vermilion missive. If that have
non avenged me, I can make no more! ” ( 169 ) . Chillingworth, despite what he said earlier, had been revenging himself non merely on Dimmesdale, but on Hester every bit good, showing once more the prevarication, hypocritical ways he patterns. Through the penalty of the three chief characters, Hester,
Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, Hawthorne clearly shows that lip service is a wickedness deserving awful penalty. The wickedness of criminal conversation, for which Hester is branded, is non the true wickedness in The Scarlet Letter. Rather, it is merely one possible wickedness that can take the evildoer and those involved into the unreliable deepnesss of lip service, the true wickedness of The Scarlet Letter.aa‚¬A?