1 May 2015
Puritan Beliefs in
The Scarlet Letter
The puritan society was very different than other religious groups. They were a more strict about their religious views and beliefs. The puritans believed that “human beings were depraved sinners incapable of earning merit in the eyes of God” (The Puritan Beliefs ). This drove them to believe that they can never become satisfied with themselves and should always strive to follow the will of God. Their strong beliefs are seen in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s
. The story starts with the public shaming of Hester Prynne who had committed adultery. Her old husband, Roger Chillingworth, vows to take revenge on her new lover;
Dimmesdale. As years pass Chillingworth discovers this and starts to torment him. Dimmesdale suffers from his guilt about his sin as well as from Chillingworth's torment and Hester realizes this and seeks him out for a talk. The two meet in the forest and talk about running away to
Europe and begin a new life as a family. However on Dimmesdale’s last sermon he feels his death approaching and confesses his sin to the crowd and dies. Hester remains a widow for the rest of life while Pearl lives a normal life. The puritans were harsh and almost took Hester’s only child from her because of their narrow mindedness, they condemned Hester to wear a scarlet A on her bosom for her entire, and they caused Dimmesdale's suffering and eventual death. The puritans built their society around their beliefs and enforced them as the law. Children were raised to follow these laws and grew up believing them.
The puritans believed that everyone should follow the word of God in every aspect of their lives and should stay away from those who did not. The puritans wanted to separate Pearl from Hester because they have heard rumors that Pearl was of demon origin and they believed that “a Christian interest in the mother’s soul required them to remove such a stumbling block from her path” (68). The puritans believed in and feared anything associated with the devil, so much, that they were going to rip Hesters only daughter away from her based solely on rumors that were floating around in the community. However, in the story the puritans decided that if
Pearl was “capable of moral and religious growth, and possessed the elements of ultimate salvation, then surely, it would enjoy all the fairer prospect of these advantages, by being transferred to wiser and better guardianship than Hester Prynne’s” (68). The puritan community would often look down upon and discriminate against those that were known to have sinned and those sinners were often seen as outcasts. If the puritans did separate Hester and Pearl, Hester would have no one and would be seen as even more of an outcast.
The Scarlet letter is about Hester and how she struggles to deal with her punishment of wearing the scarlet letter. She is forced to it wear for her entire life because she has committed adultery. The puritans believed that every sinner should have some kind of punishment bestowed upon them because they thought it was the will of God. Many of them believed that Hester's punishment was not severe enough. They thought that Hester had brought shame upon the entire community a shouted out that this was “in the Scripture and the statutebook” that they should kill Hester (39). The puritans beliefs were not an optional choice in their society. The bible and the scriptures had to be followed by law. However the magistrates were “merciful” and allowed her to escape death. The puritans did not understand why someone would willingly sin against
their church because they were “narrowminded, and basically closed to all views and lifestyles other than their own.” “How Puritans are Portrayed” The Puritans saw only one goal in life and that was to please God by