Secrets In Scarlet Letter

One of the main themes in The Scarlet Letter is that of the secret. The plot of the book is centered around Hester Prynne’s secret sin of adultery. Nathaniel Hawthorne draws striking parallelism between secrets held and the physical and mental states of those who hold them. The Scarlet Letter demonstrates that a secret or feeling kept within slowly engulfs and destroys the soul, while a secret made public can allow a soul to recover and even strengthen.
When a secret is hidden inside it can engulf and even destroy a person. Arthur Dimmesdale, a revered young minister in the town, demonstrates what happens to the soul. Dimmesdale, as it is later made known, commits the serious ...

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yet another sin, that of hypocrisy. Dimmesdale’s accumulated sins build inside of him, constantly afflicting his soul until it begins to affect him negatively. Thinking himself a hypocrite, he tries to ease his conscience and requite his sin by scourging himself on the chest during the night, fasting for days on end and even climbing the same platform on which Hester began her humiliation.
Walking in the shadow of a dream, as it were, and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism (sleepwalk), Mr. Dimmesdale reached the spot where, now so long since, Hester Prynne had lived through her first hours of public ignominy. The same platform or scaffold, black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years, and footworn, too, with the tread of many culprits who had since ascended it, remained standing beneath the balcony of the meeting-house. The minister went up the steps.
Dimmesdale’s increasingly enervated physical condition is ...

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to tell him who fathered her baby, Pearl, he vows to seek vengeance on his wife’s lover. Chillingsworth also requests that this be kept secret from the public, so that he has a chance to “sense” the guilty one for himself. Chillingsworth, too, experiences a drastic descending change in his physical condition. He makes vengeance an obsession, an obsession that eventually transcends his life. Chillingsworth suspects Dimmesdale’s guilt, so he attempts to get closer to him by becoming the reverend’s personal physician. When Chillingsworth uncovers Dimmesdale’s shirt while he is sleeping, he finds an “A” scourged on his chest, similar to the ...

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Secrets In Scarlet Letter. (2004, October 1). Retrieved November 27, 2021, from
"Secrets In Scarlet Letter.", 1 Oct. 2004. Web. 27 Nov. 2021. <>
"Secrets In Scarlet Letter." October 1, 2004. Accessed November 27, 2021.
"Secrets In Scarlet Letter." October 1, 2004. Accessed November 27, 2021.
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Added: 10/1/2004 12:03:22 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1373
Pages: 5

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