Tha Nature Of Sin Essay

1719 words - 7 pages

As the cold, metal bar inches closer and closer to my face, the eminent threat of the 250 lb weight becomes insistently more overbearing. My chest is concaving from the excruciating pressure and it’s all I can do to not give in and fall prisoner to the weight. However, the end result is undeniably inevitable: the weight will crush me completely. This feeling of intense pressure and the struggle bench pressing ensues is highly comparable to the overwhelming effects that sin can cause in one’s life. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the complicated nature of sin is revealed through the way that sin affects multiple characters’ souls and entire lives. This is more specifically ...view middle of the document...

Chillingworth’s metamorphic reaction to his sin is stated by Hester, whom disappointingly realizes what kind of malicious man he has become: “...old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man’s faculty of transforming himself into a devil... This unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture and deriving his enjoyment thence...” (Hawthorne 166). Further explanation of this observation made by Hester lies in what specifically causes Chillingworth to change: the sins of others. Both Dimmesdale and Hester’s adulterous sin is what drives Chillingworth to take the Devil upon himself and devote the remainder of his life dedicated to ensuring that Dimmesdale suffers unbearably. This decision does not only have horrific internal effects, but frightening external effects. Chillingworth is described as follows: “At first, his expression had been calm, meditative, scholar-like. Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face which they had not previously noticed, and which grew still more obvious to sight, the oftener they looked upon them” (Hawthorne 124.) Prior to Hester committing adultery and Chillingworth turning himself over to the devil, Chillingworth had been a well-rounded, intellectual person with a comfortable life and future. Now he is everything but that, as he engages himself in the work of the devil. A striking example of him committing evil practices such as the devil would is the seven long years of Chillingworth torturing Dimmesdale. At one point in the novel, “Roger Chillingworth at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven and won into his kingdom.” This is significant because it fully demonstrates how Dimmesdale has taken on the life, desires, and purposes of Satan. Chillingworth exemplifies the role that sin can play in someone’s life by consuming the sinner entirely in evil and depravity. The reader experiences the origin of this sin, the physical and harsh effects it has, and the transfiguration of Chillingworth’s entire character during the course of the novel.
Similar in the way the Chillingworth’s sin consumes and damages his soul, Dimmesdale’s sin consumes him in a way that he is swallowed up in harmful guilt from his sin. This leads to another aspect contributing to the nature of sin: it causes life-ruining guilt in the heart of the sinner. Dimmesdale’s neverending guilt for the depraved sin he committed with Hester is a direct result for the consequences of sin and is shown through his internal shame and external guilt. As a reverend, Dimmesdale is placed upon a pedestal in the Boston puritan society. He is supposedly a Godly man; meaning expectations are placed on him by citizens of the community who expect their extraordinary reverend to lead them to exalted perfection and by being perfect himself. So, when Dimmesdale commits...

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