The Scarlet Letter

This paper looks at the motivation between the actions of the three main characters in the “The Scarlet Letter” by Hawthorne.

This paper explores the motives behind the actions of the three main characters in the story, “The Scarlet Letter.” Dimmesdale, Chillingworth and Hester’s characters are delved into in order to give the reader a better understanding why the story unfolds as it does. Each of these characters has a hidden agenda, and in many cases this is influenced by certain character traits that they have managed to keep hidden from the public’s view. Using several examples from the story, the author illustrates how despite great hardship, Hester maintains her personal dignity and honesty, while the male character’s are constantly at war with their public and personal personas.
Fortunately for Chillingworth, Arthur’s conscience is progressively winning the battle against his front of respectability. But unfortunately for Chillingworth, Arthur may not give in the way he predicts or hopes. In fact, the moment of truth comes when Chillingworth is engrossed with some other business and he appears at the scaffold area just in time to hear the dying clergyman’s pronouncement of sin. Chillingworth receives total justice through this intense suffering in both Arthur and Hester, but nothing farther in the inner world. Arthur falls, not into his vengeful hands, but into the Creator’s alone to whom Arthur sinned. Death enables Arthur to escape Chillingworth’s revenge: Hadst thou sought the whole earth over … There was no one place so secret no high place nor lowly place where thou couldst have escaped me save on this very scaffold! (Ch 23)