Since early times, Puritans have had the reputation for strong discipline, their religious beliefs, and harsh punishment for those defying their beliefs. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that portrays the Puritans as cold and unfeeling.
Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne goes to detail on how revenge can be a powerful force. .
In "The Scarlet Letter" Nathaniel Hawthorne presents three main characters that commit evil and sinful acts, where each act is at a different degree of sinfulness. These three sinners (in the eyes of the Puritan community) are: the beautiful Hester Prynne, the esteemed Reverend Dimmesdale, and the cold-hearted doctor Roger Chillingworth. Hawthorn believes that evil is the nature of man but that there are different magnitudes of evil- some choose to fight it, like Hester, and some choose to give in, like Chillingworth.
Hester Prynn, a strong willed and brave women, in respect to the two additional people, has committed the least amount of sin in the novel. However, in the eyes of the Puritan community, she has committed one of the worst possible sins that can be imagined: adultery. .
Though, in their eyes, she is horrendously corrupt, it is not her fault in fact; Hester is the victim of her husband, Roger Chillingworth's stupidity by sending her to New England by herself, while he remained in Europe. She is also a victim of fate- when Chillingworth is captured by the Indians when he arrives in North America, Hester has no way of knowing if he is alive or dead. But in fact, she still goes against the strict Puritan rules, and breaks commandment seven, which was often punished by death.
Arthur Dimmesdale, a strong pillar of the community, and a very devoted Puritan, goes a little further into the same sin. First of all, he commits adultery with the abandoned Hester, and instead of admitting his sin to the public, he keeps his dark secret in his heart, much like an unwanted reminder of the past that someone of this nature would lock up but would know its still there.