Conflict in Nathaniel Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter

980 words 4 pages
Conflict in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Conflict can take on many forms in one’s life, such as conflict with self, with society, with religion and with others. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, develops the theme of conflict through the moral sin of Hester Prynne. Conflict is observed through Hester’s difficulties with the townspeople, challenges with the Puritan way of life, struggles with herself and tensions with Roger Chillingworth. Committing sin in the Puritan society leads to a great deal of conflicts. Conflict is first observed through Hester’s ongoing difficulties with her fellow townspeople. Hester receives ridicule from on looking townspeople, as a gossiping woman states, ‘ “At the very least, they …show more content…

Although it appears that Hester’s major conflicts are with others, in actuality many are within herself. The theme of conflict is apparent as it is portrayed in a variety of situations in Hester’s life.

Lastly the theme of conflict is developed through Hester’s struggle with Roger Chillingworth. Chillingworth wants Hester’s fellow sinner to be revealed but Hester does not want to reveal his identity. Chillingworth’s interest is observed when he states, ‘ “Would it be beyond a philosopher’s research, think ye, gentlemen, to analyze that child’s nature, and from its make and mould, to give a shrewd guess at the father?” ’ (103). His curiousness generates tension between himself and Hester which intensifies Hester’s conflict with Chillingworth. The ongoing conflict continues when Hester decides to return to England. She is informed by a shipmaster that Roger Chillingworth has decided to travel with her. The shipmaster states, ‘ “Ay, ay, you must have known it; for he tells me he is of your party and a close friend to the gentleman you spoke of . . .” ’ (214). Although Hester wishes not to associate with Roger Chillingworth, he continually torments her, again creating conflict in Hester’s life. Hester’s attempt to escape from the struggles within her life establishes another conflict, emphasizing the theme of conflict.
Hester Prynne’s moral sin initiates conflict within her life. Hester’s


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