Forgiveness in The Scarlet Letter
Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne, and Roger Chillingworth all committed sins that needed forgiveness. Nonetheless , only Hester found what they all sought after. Forgiving themselves and
others to receive forgiveness prevails as a major struggle and for Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, that
struggle ends in sad deaths. For Hester however, that struggle ends in a righteous redemption from her
Hester receives forgiveness for her sin because she has the ability to forgive others and accepted
her sin in the end. Rather than running from the consequences that came with her crime, she accepted
them and allowed them to make her strong. Embracing her crime, she declares “It lies not in the pleasure
of the magistrates to take off this badge. Were I worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own
nature, or to be transformed into something that should speak a different purport.” The sin of her crime
still prevails though and will not fade away. Knowing this, Hester lives her life as normally as she can,
raising up her daughter alongside her. Still, she’s seen as an outcast, but she works through the judging
eyes and provides a home for her family, “In this manner, Hester Prynne came to have a part to perform
in the world. With her native energy of character and rare capacity, it could not entirely cast her off,
although it had set a mark upon her more intolerable to a woman’s heart than that which branded the brow
of Cain.” Even through the trials she’s plagued with, she never fails to show a sense of strength.
By performing good deeds in the town that acted so cruelly towards her, she also shows mercy,
“Women, more especially–in the continually recurring trials of wounded, wasted, wronged, misplaced, or
erring and sinful passion–or with the dreary burden of a heart unyielded, because unvalued and unsought
came to Hester’s cottage, demanding why they were so wretched, and what the remedy! Hester comforted
and counselled them, as best she might. She assured them, too, of her firm belief that, at some brighter
period, when the world should have grown ripe for it, in Heaven’s own time, a new truth would be
revealed, in order to establish the whole relation between man and woman on a surer ground of mutual
happiness.” She lives now not for herself, but for other people who have lived what she’s lived through.
By means of these acts of mercy, Hester’s sense of compassion shines through. Some people may say that
Hester didn’t receive forgiveness because she ends up with the scarlet letter on her chest once more.
Hester puts the scarlet letter back on because she knows that she will never not be guilty of her crime.
The scarlet letter shapes her into the woman that she dies as. “But, in the lapse of the toilsome, thoughtful,
and self-devoted years that made up Hester’s life, the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted
the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon
with awe, yet with reverence too.” As a result of receiving this forgiveness and forgiving herself, she
realizes that the scarlet letter does not only represent her crime but it represents who she is.
Forgiveness granted Hester from her ways of mercy and acceptance. She confronts her sin head on
and doesn’t hide it away. You must forgive yourself before you yourself can receive forgiveness and
Hester understands this. As her long and trial full life comes to an end, Hester has done what she needs to
do in order to win favor with God.