It's more or less a universal concurrence that man's problems began back when there were only two naked souls frolicking in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, these two bad apples ripped from us a life of bliss, placing in its stead one of mortality and hardship. Having fallen from God's graces, the human race has ever since quested after ways to claim our righteous seat next to God, in essence reclaiming our once-lost immortality. Nathaniel Hawthorn and John Milton have described perfectly the unpardonable sin, the sin that once committed will guarantee you a seat next to Satan rather than God, in their writings "Ethan Brand" and "Paradise Lost". However, these two prolific writers never dared to write about their ideas of virtue and righteousness.
Taking from what we know about Hawthorne, Milton and the unpardonable sin, it is quite possible to draw a conclusion as to what exactly their ideas of virtue might be. The unpardonable sin is venturing higher than one's lot, and both Satan and Ethan Brand are guilty of this very sin. Satan, with the help of his rebel angels "aspired to set himself in glory above his peers" while Ethan Brand did the same and was tormented with a life of having to "endure the kind contact with low and vulgar modes of thought and feeling" that he despised. .
Knowing that both Milton and Hawthorne believed that the unpardonable sin was venturing beyond one's group, it is possible to speculate as to what they might consider virtue. First of all, we must understand that the unpardonable sin will always counter the most noble and virtuous lives imaginable. For example, no matter what noble deeds one might accomplish throughout his life, once he has ventured higher than his lot, there is no return or forgiveness. The unpardonable sin is exactly as its name describes- unforgivable. Once committed, a life of internal hell and an afterlife of unbounded damnation are sure to follow.