The portrayal of evil in the scarlet letter

His knowledge of their beliefs and his admiration for their strengths were balanced by his concerns for their rigid and oppressive rules. The Scarlet Letter shows his attitude toward these Puritans of Boston in his portrayal of characters, his plot, and the themes of his story. The early Puritans who first came to America in founded a precarious colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. While half the colonists died that first year, the other half were saved by the coming spring and the timely intervention of the Indians.

The portrayal of evil in the scarlet letter

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, such a secret tortures one of the main characters. His guilty conscience puts him through agony while he keeps the secret to himself; but his fear of shame and possible death prevents him from telling it to anyone.

Why does his secret cause him so much pain? It is because he lives in a Puritan society, in seventeenth-century Boston where the punishment of sin is strict and severe.

Hawthorne's portrayal of Puritans puts them in a bad light, making them look cruel, judgmental, narrow-minded, and altogether unlikable.

Hawthorne first portrays Puritans in a bad light in the lengthy introductory, where he speaks of one of his Puritan ancestors. It almost elevates the witches as heroes, and the Puritan judges who condemned them as the cruel, merciless enemies.

In fact, this is not the last time in this book where Hawthorn portrays a sinner positively, and the person who condemns the sinner negatively. We see more of the Puritans' cruelty represented in Chapter 2, where a group of women are disappointed that Hester, an adulterer, is not receiving a harsh enough punishment for her sin.

After she is released from prison, Hester remains in Boston because

However, these women say it is not enough. One insists that she should be branded on the forehead with a hot iron; another says she should be put to death! The story blatantly portrays Puritans as pitiless and cold-hearted, but that's not the only bad quality it gives them.

Later in the story, Puritans are revealed as being narrow-minded, and basically closed to all views and lifestyles other than their own. This gives us a hint at what their hearts may have been like; because if they judged people for simply dressing the wrong way, than how much more judgmental and narrow-minded might they have been toward people who committed more serious sins?

Another example of the Puritans' narrow-mindedness is in Chapter After the character mentioned at the beginning of this paper finally reveals his secret, many people refuse to believe him — simply because they had reverenced him as sinless, and they couldn't accept that he would ever commit a crime.

Even though he presents them with obvious proof, they stubbornly hold on to what they think. Unfortunately, he dies on the spot after admitting his secret, so he never gets a chance to set the unbelievers straight.

In addition to making the Puritans look like people of bad character, Hawthorne portrays them as visually unlikable people. The only person that is associated with beauty is the adulterer, Hester.

Hawthorne says of her: She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes.

Hawthorne repeats again and again throughout The Scarlet Letter the cruelty, judgmental attitude, narrow-mindedness, and numerous unlikable features of the Puritans. He shows them as condemning sinners mercilessly, refusing to accept ideas that are foreign to their ways of living or thinking, and being physically — and inwardly — ugly.

However, his portrayal of Puritans is probably inaccurate, or at least exaggerated. The real Puritans had many of the wholesome traits and values that went into the founding of this nation.

Sometimes Hawthorne's representation of Puritans is used as a stereotype for all Christians today. Unbelievers often assume that Christians are self-righteous and unforgiving, but we know this stereotype goes against what the Bible teaches.The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered by many to be a classic novel.


In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne provides his audience with a real sense of the consequences of unconfessed sin, isolation from society, and the presence of evil everywhere.

Through his portrayal of the. Foremost, the scarlet letter on Hester's chest is like a cross on nun's.

The portrayal of evil in the scarlet letter

The "A" symbolizes a beacon of hope, Heaven, and most importantly, Hester's unsexuality. In addition, Hester now covers her hair like how a nun covers hers with a coif.

The Scarlet Letter, first published in , is Nathaniel Hawthorne‟s first “romance” and is thus far his most renowned and well-received novel. The subject matter is equally well-. Its catalogs. and I the portrayal of evil in the scarlet letter realize in half an hour Ill be slammed with customers Before they all get the portrayal of evil in the scarlet letter here I .

The Scarlet Letter, first published in , is Nathaniel Hawthorne‟s first “romance” and is thus far his most renowned and well-received novel.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The subject matter is equally well-. The Nature of Evil Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works “The Scarlet Letter” and “Young Goodman Brown” are literature classics. Hawthorne thoroughly portrays his main themes and ideas in these works.

American Literature - Unit 1: The Scarlet Letter | Common Core Lessons