Robert A. Heinlein once said, “A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven."The punishment imposed on one by others is not as destructive as the guilt that person experiences.In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the theme of sin to show how when unconfessed, that sin will destroy the sinner's soul.
First, Hester also commits the sin of Adultery.She immediately confesses and, therefore, must stand on the scaffold in solitude for three hours and bear her scarlet letters, the actual letter badge and Pearl, to show for it.Both the actual scarlet letter and Pearl symbolize her sin.Although, for seven years she has, been shunned and mocked by the townspeople, they have come to respect her.Through devoting herself to charity and her selflessness, she has gained the respect and the kindness of the townspeople.Hester's scarlet letter has come to represent, "not of that one sin, for which she had borne so long and dreary a penance, but of her many good deeds since" (159).Hester's sin was confessed and she suffered for it on earth, therefore she will be able to spend eternity in Heaven.
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Secondly, Chillingworth commits the sin vengeance.He represents the ultimate evil of the novel.His entire life is consumed to find out the father of Pearl and destroy him, it takes over his very being, "'I shall see him tremble'" (73) When he finds out that the father is Dimmmesdale, he tortures and antagonizes him mentally.Dimmesdale is "haunted was either by Satan himself, or Satan's emmissary, in the guise of old Roger Chillingworth" (124).The term "leech" is used to describe Chillingworth because it describes how he is sucking secrets out of Dimmesdale and the way he is sticking to him to get revenge.As Dimmesdale puts it, "That old man's revenge has been blacker than my sin.He has violat…