Puritanism and Romanticism in the Scarlet Letter
Concealed Elements: Romanticism and Puritanism Dark. Light. Bland. Spontaneous. Limited. Free. Puritanism. Romanticism. Those attributes are comparing two major beliefs in the 19th century: Puritanism and Romanticism. Attributes such as “dark, bland, restricted” explain the authoritarian principles of Puritanism. In contrast, “light, spontaneous, free” depict the more liberal beliefs of Romanticism.
As seen in his unique, Hawthorne’s root as a Puritan allowed him to understand Puritan’s strict mentors and effectively business that into his writing. For example, Puritans’ oppressive way of life prohibits a specific to turn to human intercourse for desire and enforces the reality that God is whatever; one should obey God’s will and he is deep space of his followers. Nevertheless, even though his forefathers were Puritans, Hawthorne expresses his appreciation balanced with concerns regarding their stringent practice, through his unique, The Scarlet Letter.
Written in the nineteenth century, a duration when Romanticism was at its acme, the novel possesses lots of Romantic and Puritanical natures. Through The Scarlet Letter’s syntax and diction and the portrayal of its characters, the author successfully integrates Puritanism and Romanticism into his well-known book. In the story, Hester Prynne and Pearl are the emblematic of Romanticism while the male lead character, Arthur Dimmesdale, is the representation of Puritanism.
Syntax and diction have the ability to reflect the author’s belief; which in this case: Romanticism. From the really first words of the unique, “A crowd of bearded guys, in sad-colored garments and gray steepled-crowded hats …” (Hawthorne 45), Nathaniel Hawthorne already expresses his viewpoint toward Puritans as he portrays their clothing using negative undertone such as “sad-colored” and “gray”. These words reveal to the readers that Hawthorne viewed the Puritans as an unfortunate and bleak group in society.
To express Romanticism in his writing, however, Hawthorne uses many intricate sentences. For example, instead of writing “If there was a Papist, he would see her the image of Divine Martially”-brief and basic like the way Puritans would write- he wrote” Had there been a Papist amongst the crowd of Puritans, he may have seen in this stunning female, so picturesque in her clothing and mien, and with the baby at her bosom, an object to remind him of the image of Divine Partiality, which so any remarkable painters have competed with one to another, represent, something which needs to remind him, by contrast, of that terrified image of sinless motherhood, whose baby was to redeem the world” (Hawthorne 54) to reveal the intricacy of Romantic writings. Nathaniel Hawthorne likewise utilizes flowery language such as” His gestures, his gait, his grizzled beard, his smallest and most indifferent acts, the extremely style of his garments, were unpleasant in the clergyman’s sight; a token implicitly to be relied than he was willing to acknowledge for himself to himself …
Mr. Dimmesdale, conscious that the toxin of one morbid spot was infecting his heart’s whole substance …” (Hawthorne 136) to additional elaborates the Romanticism in his writing. Simple defines Puritanism; on the other hand, complex defines Romanticism. Hawthorne’s writing let the qualities of the 2 beliefs shine through his book. Throughout the story, Hawthorne shows Romantic viewpoints through Hester and Pearl. Hester Prynne, in the eyes of the Puritans breached her religion’s principle: turning to sex for lust.
By doing so, she defies “Puritanic code of law” (Hawthorne 50); therefore, as a punishment, she must wear an embroiled scarlet letter “A” on her bosom to mark her sin. Nevertheless, Hawthorne contrasts the Puritan beliefs by using Romantic philosophy. Hester is depicted as a young and gorgeous female who devoted infidelity however eventually earns the regard of many villagers. Not only Hester, however likewise the apparently shameful scarlet letter- from “Adultery” to “Able”- is described as a stunning sign when Hester uses it.
A sinner is generally being considered as a loathsome and ill-favored figure in society; nevertheless, Nathaniel Hawthorne contrasted the belief of Puritanism by showing how a sinner can make back a place in society. Pearl, the kid of sin is expected to be awful, evil, and shameful, however Hawthorne depicts her as a young, free-spirited child. Pearl’s gentler action “here [the forest] than in the grassy-margined streets of the settlement, or in her mom’s home” (Hawthorne 194) reveals Romanticism; Puritanism thinks everything in the forest is wicked.
In the “wicked” forest, Hester has the ability to unwind and escape her troublesome life. Hester and Pearl, even though both were Puritans, represent Romanticism through their actions and descriptions. Puritans invest everything in their trustworthy spiritual leader, Arthur Dimmesdale; however, upon dedicating the unpardonable sin, Dimmesdale lost all faith in him and began to inflict discomforts and starve himself “up until his knees shivered beneath him” to handle this guiltiness. To Dimmesdale, admitting one’s sin to the general public is less painful than letting his own conscience consumes him inside out.
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Beginning a dedicated Puritan, Dimmesdale followed Hester’s demand of concealing the secret even though it was eliminating him, for he believes that is the will of God. He views his suffering as God’s penalties for committing adultery. He fears that his action has actually proven to God his insincerity for salvation; and in hope of it, he torments himself. However since these punishments were carried out in personal, they do not satisfy Arthur Dimmesdale’s purpose. Dimmesdale is the best example of Puritanism for he strictly followed the rule and set God as the significance of his life.
This lead character is Hawthorne’s way of mocking the strictness of Puritanism; Dimmesdale is a dull person who follows Puritan’s ascetic guidelines however found no happiness till he betrays his own belief and admitted his sin. Through The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne provokes the stringent teachings of Puritan using Romantic aspects. His characters, Hester Prynne and Pearl, reflect the Romantic side of the novel when they hold up against the seclusion of their society and flourish through the difficulty.
Dimmesdale, on the other hand, showed the mores of Puritan when he remained committed to his faith and utilize God as an explanation for the tortures and challenges in his life. Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter might be regarded as one of the very best Romantic book ever composed; nevertheless, Hawthorne’s writing design forces the reader to pay real close attention to the details to comprehend the complicated meaning behind the book and learn how to accept the complicated Romantic and Puritan concepts.