Expiation Of Guilt And The Scarlet Letter English Literature Essay

September 11, 2017 English Literature

Although there are many differences between Nathaniel Hawthorne ‘s novel The Scarlet Letter and the movie Dead Man Walking, these two plants portion a common subject, the necessity of the atonement of guilt in order to accomplish redemption. Even though neither adult male is willing to atone for his several wickednesss for the bulk of both plants, the concluding scenes in both narratives bring about a dramatic alteration in their attitudes toward the atonement of guilt. Arthur Dimmesdale, a Puritan curate who has had a sexual relationship with a married parishioner, and Matthew Poncilet, a convicted liquidator, have to publically squeal, before their deceases, in order to accomplish ultimate redemption. Despite their differences, The Scarlet Letter and Death Man Walking both discuss the subject of the atonement of guilt before decease is the lone tract towards ultimate, personal salvation.

Arthur Dimmesdale is a well-thought-of and an intelligent curate in an early Puritan community. However, the “ sanctum ” curate is non precisely every bit sanctum as his parish community positions him. The parish is wholly incognizant that he was involved in the extramarital offense of Hester Prynne, which leads to intensifying guilt, which is symbolized by his outside ailing visual aspect. This guilt finally destroys his physical being and his saneness. Dimmesdale keeps his matter a secret due to his belief that, “ the bosom, doing itself guilty ofaˆ¦secrets, must perforce keep them, until the twenty-four hours when all concealed things shall be revealed ” ( 119 ) . However, this privacy consequences in the go oning diminution of his physical heath. As the novel continues, his physical wellness worsens as he continues to keep back his utmost feelings of guilt. He “ [ longs ] to talk out, from his ain dais, at the full tallness of his voice, and state the people what he [ is ] , ” but is unable to squeal openly to the community ( 130 ) . Despite this inability, he continually tries to warrant for himself, his determination non to atone until Judgment Day.

This denial is really closely reflected by that of Matthew Poncilet in Dead Man Walking. Even thought he has been convicted of the violent slaying of a immature adult male and the colza and slaying of the adult male ‘s girlfriend, the spectator senses that Poncilet feels no compunction for his offense. He, like Dimmesdale, refuses to populate up to his actions by his involuntariness to claim duty. This involuntariness is driven by a beginning of choler and desire for retaliation directed towards the community which root from his belief that the community treated him ill because of his background and his poorness. This choler causes his to travel every bit far as discoursing his personal racialist positions in an interview. For illustration, he believes there is no cogent evidence of the slaying of six million Jews during the Holocaust ; nevertheless, this in merely one of a few actions he really subsequently declinations. Even as the executing day of the month draws nigher, Poncilet continues to deny his engagement in the slaying and colza by bespeaking a polygraph trial to convert his female parent and others of his artlessness, but his denial finally gives manner. Finally, he begins to demo marks of guilt by shouting openly over his last visit, a major measure in the procedure towards the atonement of guilt.

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The atonement of guilt is a major focal point in both plants which occurs shortly before their several deceases. In the concluding staging scene in The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale, after reasoning a powerful discourse on Election Day, publically confesses his wickednesss of lecherousness and criminal conversation, while proudly exposing his “ red missive. ” He is now able to go through off because he is eventually at peace with himself and his scruples. In Dimmesdale ‘s instance, public atonement of guilt is the lone manner for him to get away the vindictive questions of Chillingworth. Chillingworth, out of retaliation, admits that “ [ Dimmesdale ] hast escaped me! ” ( 228 ) . Dimmesdale ‘s original planns to get away to Europe, a secret plan foiled by Chillingworth, fail but now he is able to get away from him by traveling to Heaven, in ability merely made possible by Dimmesdale ‘s confession.

Poncilet acts likewise to Dimmesdale by trying to accomplish redemption after months of denial and hatred. He begins his quest towards redemption by giving Sister Helen a confession or guilt and a in writing description of the events that transpired on that fatal dark. Moments before his executing, when faced with the parents ‘ of the victims, he publically admits his engagement in the offense. In add-on, he apologizes and confesses to the parents of the immature adult male and tells the parents of the immature adult female that he hopes they find some type of compensation in his executing. One can merely conceive of that he, like Dimmesdale, would accomplish the same terminal consequence for his atonement of guilt, this being his admittance into Eden.

There are many dissimilar elements between The Scarlet Letter and Dead Man Walking ; nevertheless, the subject of the necessity for the atonement of guilt before one can have personal redemption is a subject that links these two plants. This subject is non merely good to the one inquiring forgiveness but besides the healing of the victims, and a failure to make so merely compounds the choler, hatred, and desire for retaliation incited by the original offense.


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