An analysis of the theme of ambiguity in hawthornes the scarlet letter

Ossa Certified Educator Among the major themes in the novel, one of the most interesting to analyze is the ambiguity with which Hawthorne narrates many of the major events. Ambiguity, as a theme, touches upon a lot of the issues in the novel.

An analysis of the theme of ambiguity in hawthornes the scarlet letter

Most people say they saw a scarlet A imprinted on Dimmesdale's chest, but there is conjecture as to its origin. Some think the emblem is a hideous torture the minister inflicted on himself, others think it is the result of Chillingworth's drugs, and still others believe it was remorse gnawing its way out of Dimmesdale's conscience.

Still other observers claim that the minister's death serves as a parable showing that even the most saintly of us are sinners. Hawthorne puts this latter version down to the loyalty of friends and gives it little credence.

He does state that a moral lesson is to be found in the original manuscript from the Custom House. That precept is "Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred! Chillingworth, consumed by his revenge, shrivels up and vanishes.

He leaves Pearl great wealth in his will, and she and her mother disappear, presumably to Europe. After their departure, the legend of the scarlet letter grows. Finally, one day Hester returns alone and inhabits once again the little cottage.

She wears gray and reapplies the scarlet A to her bosom. No one knows Pearl's fate, but people assume that she married well and had a family because letters with the seals of heraldry arrive for Hester and articles of comfort and luxury are found in her cottage.

Hester is also seen embroidering baby garments; instead of Puritan colors, she uses most un-Puritan-like lavish and rich materials. Finally, Hester becomes a symbol of comfort and compassion, and upon her death, she is buried in the cemetery near the prison door where she first was incarcerated.

An analysis of the theme of ambiguity in hawthornes the scarlet letter

While alive, she gives hope and comfort to those who feel sorrow and pain, and, accordingly, the scarlet letter becomes a symbol of help. She becomes a prophet of a better time where human happiness will be easier to obtain than in the rigid rules of Puritan society.

The Custom-House: Introductory

When she dies, she is buried next to Dimmesdale. Their graves are slightly apart but with a single gravestone bearing the inscription: As is his fashion, Hawthorne lends his customary ambiguity and vagueness to many of the questions by citing various points of view or options related to incidences without anointing any one of them as true.

One such incident involves what people actually saw when Dimmesdale exposed his bosom on the scaffold. He presents several possible versions of the spectators at the scaffold that day including that some saw no letter on Dimmesdale's chest.

An analysis of the theme of ambiguity in hawthornes the scarlet letter

He attributes this last version to the loyalty of friends to Dimmesdale. Hawthorne explains that the moral of the story, gleaned from an old manuscript of testimony of people who had known Hester, is based on "the poor minister's miserable experience, and he states a kind of moral for us: Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait by which the worst may be inferred.

Chillingworth shrivels up and vanishes because his revenge has consumed him and made him inhuman.Why does Nathaniel Hawthorne have so many ambiguities in Scarlet Letter? Hawthorne's use of ambiguity in the story keeps the reader alert.

He mixes this technique along with irony and symbolism to captivate and hold the readers attention. Ambiguity, which is doubleness or inconclusiveness of meaning, is an important characteristic of Hawthorne’s style in The Scarlet Letter.

Constantly used throughout the story, ambiguity continually keeps the readers attention. A summary of The Custom-House: Introductory in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. A Literary Analysis of Ambiguity in the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne PAGES WORDS 1, View Full Essay.

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and Roger Chillingworth at the conclusion of The Scarlet Letter. in the ambiguity attached to evil and its effects upon the.

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