Friday, July 12, 2019

The Contradiction of Guilt

The deeper I get into The Scarlet Letter, the more I wonder who the novel is really about. It may be less about Hester Prynne and more about the drama unfolding with Roger Chillingworth, the wronged husband on his quest for vengeance, and Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister who’s fathered Hester’s, out-of-wedlock baby.

Chillingworth, in the guise of the trusted doctor, is gradually pushing Dimmesdale toward a crisis or breakdown. He occupies an interesting position in the story – associated with neither the Puritan church and culture nor the Romanticism of Hester and her daughter Pearl. He interacts with both but acts more like a free agent, outside church and conscience.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Literary Life.

Image of Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl on the platform is from the 1878 edition of The Scarlet Letter.

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