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For his part, Chillingworth permits vengeance to permeate his spirit so much that his alienation is absolute; he refers to himself as a “fiend,” unable to impart forgiveness or to change his profoundly evil path.His is the unpardonable sin—unpardonable not because God will not pardon, but because his own nature has become so depraved that he cannot repent or accept forgiveness.
In , Hawthorne proves to be closer to Paul Tillich than to Cotton Mather or Jonathan Edwards.
Like Tillich, Hawthorne saw sin not as an act but as a state—what existentialists refer to as alienation and what Tillich describes as a threefold separation from God, other humans, and self.
As Yvor Winters has pointed out, the Puritans, believing in predestination, viewed the commission of any sin as evidence of the sinner’s corruption and preordained damnation.
The harsh determinism and moralism of those early years softened somewhat by Hawthorne’s day, and during the twelve years he spent in contemplation and semi-isolation, he worked out his own notions about human will and human nature.
Yet, although she is apparently isolated from normal association with “decent” folk, Hester, having come to terms with her sin, is inwardly reconciled to God and self; she ministers to the needy among her townspeople, reconciling herself with others until some observe that her now stands for “Able.” Arthur Dimmesdale, her secret lover, and Roger Chillingworth, her secret husband, move much more freely in society than she can and even enjoy prestige: Dimmesdale as a beloved pastor, Chillingworth as a respected physician.
However, Dimmesdale’s secret guilt gnaws so deeply inside him that he is unable to make his peace with God or to feel at ease with his fellow citizens.
As one critic has noted, there is hardly a concrete object in the book that does not do double duty as a symbol, among them the scarlet letter, the sunlight that eludes Hester, the scaffold of public notice, the armor in which Hester’s shame and Pearl’s selfishness are distorted and magnified.
The four main characters themselves serve as central symbols in this, the greatest allegory of a master allegorist.
Although Hawthorne has several great works to his credit, the one that is generally considered to be the best is "The Scarlet Letter". This is what Hawthornedemonstrates in "The Scarlet Letter". " Once again, the adults tell her a deeper truth that contradicts all their previous words: "Not now, dear child." Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is a wonderful piece of American Literature.
And none of this could have been the least effective had it not been for the tale's setting. If Hester Prynne did her adulterous deed in present-day Amer... The setting of the story related well to the history of Salem, Massachusetts and that time period in history. "Narrative Techniques and the Oral Tradition in The Scarlet Letter." American Literature.