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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The scarlet letter / edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. — New ed. Free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on. The Scarlet Letter, published in , is an American novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and is generally considered to be his magnum opus.
Id Primitive Impulses The id is the first part of the personality, which includes our primitive impulses; such as anger, hunger, and hatred. As for Freud, the id is something natural, we were born with these primitive and natural impulses. The id is defined by Hoffman as The Id is the repository of all basic drives, the ego s enemy, the obscure inaccessible part of our personality.
It is entirely unconscious, hence remote from our understanding and difficult to manage Hoffman, The id which is one of the most important parts of our personality that helps people meet their basic needs. It depends on the pleasure principle and requires satisfaction and requirement of the basic needs of people, and it is located in the sub-conscious, contributing to the improvement of ego and superego later as well. Ego The second part of the personality is the ego.
While trying to satisfy such desires, one encounters reality or in other words ego. The ego is located in our unconscious and depends on the reality, it is one of the most crucial parts of human personality, because ego decides what is suitable for the individual, which impulses or desires offered by the id can be satisfied and to what degree they can be satisfied.
According to Freud; [The ego] is not only the ally of the id; it is also a submissive slave who courts the love of his master Freud,.
Therefore, it is just like ladder between the needs of id and the realities offered by ego. Superego The last part of the personality is the superego. It is certainly about the moral values of society in which we live or what we have been taught by our parents. Jackson describes the superego by saying: A third major component corresponding roughly to conscience is the superego.
This consists of social, and in particular parental, standards introjected into the mind. The superego is partly unconscious: it issues blind commands, just as the id issues blind desires, and produces feelings of guilt when its commands are disobeyed Jackson, The main function of super ego is to decide whether an action is true or not according to the ethical or moral values of the community in which individuals live.
Super ego retains and struggles for perfection or satisfaction. Freud states: The super-ego is always in close touch with the id and can act as its representative in relation to the ego Freud,. The superego deals with both because individual deeds do not always fit into the moral codes that superego represents. The superego is developed according to the moral and ethical values which were taught us by our families when we were young.
Hester Prynne Hester Prynne as a youthful woman is trapped by her desires. The reason that she carries the scarlet letter on her chest is that she was caught engaging in secret love affair. Although Hester is quite aware of the strict rules of the Puritan community, she violates one of the most important rules of Puritan society by having a secret love affair and giving birth to baby out of wedlock: Trapped and desperate for a real loving relationship, she behaves impulsively, driven by her id, to satisfy her desires that she has repressed deep in her unconscious.
Since Hester Prynne does not have love or affection in her marriage, she needs to satisfy her desires outside of it. She finds Arthur Dimmesdale who provides her with the love and affection she desires. Thus, Hester stays under the tempting effect of her id committing adultery even though she knows that it is forbidden. Her secret love affair results in being forced to place the scarlet letter on her chest during lifetime, also to bear alone the shame that is put on her shoulders by the Puritan community, and this situation is described by Hawthorne like this: Could it be true?
She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast, that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes down-ward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself that the infant and the shame were real. Hawthorne, These lines from the novel show that the result of immediate gratification of her id is Pearl and the letter A on her chest.
She is torn between her id and superego. Despite being in between, she is not ashamed of her sin; she looks after both Pearl and her scarlet letter by carrying it on her chest for many years. This is a kind of revelation with which she accepts she is defeated by her strong id.
She cannot resist against the strong gratification need of her id. After leaving the prison and revealing her sin to the public, she does not know what to do and how to live without money, but then Hester moves to a small, wooden cottage and she tries to earn her life by sewing at her needle. Most of the people from the Puritan community order Hester to prepare clothes for them, for their special days.
Hester designs embroidered and ornamented clothes for them. For a woman alone, sewing dresses is actually a way of displaying hidden desires and passions and this is explained in the novel with these lines: It was the art then, as now, almost the only one within a woman s grasp of needle- work. She bore on her breast, in the curiously embroidered letter, a specimen of her delicate and imaginative skill, of which the dames of a court might gladly have availed themselves, to add the richer and more spiritual adornment of human ingenuity to their fabric of silk and gold, … it was shut up, to be mildewed and moulder away, in the coffins of the dead … her skill was called in aid to embroider the white veil which was to cover the pure blushes of a bride.
The exception indicated the ever relentless vigor with society frowned upon her sin Hawthorne, She strongly focuses on her work, sewing. She wants to beautify the life she has to live despite being isolated by the Puritans. In his article Arts of Deception, Michael Davitt Bell comments on Hester s personality and her needle work with these lines Hester is defined as their text, and she attempts to read herself at their valuation.
Yet Hester s extirpation of her individuality , of her inner life of impulse, is hardly so complete or successful as she wishes to believe. Bell, Hester spends most of her time sewing clothes and this is a sign of her passion, repressed desires and creativity.
By ornamenting the scarlet letter, she expresses her passion and desire she previously repressed to the outer world. She tries to show that the sin she committed is not something supernatural. Hester believes that sometimes people cannot control their emotions and desires, having sexual desires and passions are not something extraordinary, every person harbors such desires, it is something that can be found in the nature of every human being.
Hawthorne supports this idea by stating Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle. To Hester Prynne it might have been a mode of expressing, and therefore soothing, the passion of her life.
Like all other joys, she rejected it as sin Hawthorne,. Hester is quite aware of her sin and its results, so she dedicates herself to purifying her soul and body from the burdens of this sin. She earns enough money to survive and spends the rest on works of charity, trying to help everyone whether they are really in need or not.
Throughout the novel, Hester Prynne experiences times when she behaves according to her ego. She is actually in between her id and ego. Because by ornamenting clothes she aims to show her id s strong influence and by trying to earn money she is aware of the fact that she needs money to live by and provide Pearl with a better life.
At the end of the novel, the reader again encounters Hester Prynne deciding under the influence of her id. Hester offers to move away with Dimmesdale to Europe in order to escape the shameful life they are forced to live in Boston. Both Prynne and Dimmesdale spend their lives by suffering the sin they committed.
Hester Prynne wants to end their sufferings and save Dimmesdale from the cruel plans of Roger Chillingworth.
That is why; she offers to flee to Europe in an instant saying: Then there is the broad pathway of the sea! It brought thee hither.
If you so choose, it will bear thee back again. In our native land, whether in some remote rural village or in vast London, or, surely, in Germany, in France, in pleasant Italy, thou wouldst be beyond his power and knowledge! And what hast thou to do with all these iron men, and their opinions? They have kept thy better part in bondage too long already! Moving to Europe is a decision which is controlled by Hester s id.
Hester wants to be away from the place where she made her biggest mistake. Further, her id demands gratification once more. Despite knowing that it will be difficult for Dimmesdale, Hester cannot resist her passions and desires; therefore she suggests moving to Europe to make a new, fresh start with Dimmesdale and Pearl. While making this decision, her ego and superego are not on the stage, she is only controlled by her id without fully understanding the consequences of her plan.
Roger Chillingworth The character, Roger Chillingworth is depicted as a villain in the novel by Hawthorne. Hawthorne describes Chillingworth by saying He was small in stature, with a furrowed visage, which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged Hawthorne, Hawthorne does not attribute sympathetic qualities to Chillingworth instead depicting him as a vengeful character.
Throughout the novel, he is under the influence of his id. He listens to his conscience only one time in the novel. He admits his marriage to Hester Prynne was a mistake in the beginning by saying; It was my folly, and thy weakness.
I, a man of thought,the book- worm of great libraries,a man already in decay, having given my best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge,what had I to do with youth and beauty like thine own! He admits their marriage was a complete mistake and thus, the first wrong act was his. He accepts that he is an old man and their marriage is one of a mismatched couple. Although he is aware of the differences between him and Hester, he cannot resist his id in front of this young and beautiful woman.
His id needs gratification, marrying Hester in order to satisfy his desires and passions seemed the best way for him. Chillingworth confesses his mistake by saying We have wronged each other, answered he Hawthorne, Throughout the novel, we see that Roger Chillingworth takes the responsibility of punishing Arthur Dimmesdale for his hidden sin.
Dimmesdale suffers from the sin he committed with Hester and Chillingworth often appears as a reflection of Dimmesdale s conscience. Chillingworth is always close to Dimmesdale, this means that he acts a reminder of Dimmesdale s sinful act whenever Dimmesdale tries to purify his soul from the pressure of his conscience, Chillingworth prevents it.
He stands in as the voice of Dimmesdale s conscience by reminding of his sin with these words: [T]hey are new to me. I found them growing on a grave, which bore no tombstone, nor other memorial of the dead man, save these ugly weeds that have taken upon themselves to keep him in remembrance.
They grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during his life time Hawthorne, Chillingworth s explanations about the graveyard are quite rough for Dimmesdale. Chillingworth s implications about Dimmesdale s secret serve as the reminder of his conscience. Nina Baym, in Passion and Authority in The Scarlet Letter comments on the function of Chillingworth in during the process of revelation of the sin …this monster becomes his constant companion and oppressor.
If Pearl to borrow a Freudian metaphor is a representation of Hester s id , then Chillingworth represents Dimmesdale s superego Baym, Roger Chillingworth insinuates himself into Puritan society with a false name and profession. Since he has full of knowledge of medicine, the Puritans believed him as to be a physician. Dimmesdale s worsening health provides Chillingworth with a chance to get close to Dimmesdale and to prove himself as a physician in the Puritan community.
Therefore, it is possible to find a similarity between the relationship of Dimmesdale and Chillingworth and the relationship of the patient and the analyst. According to Freudian psychoanalysis, Chillingworth can be seen as the analyst who tries to find out what is repressed in the unconscious level of the patient and Dimmesdale can be regarded as the patient who represses his passions, desires and memories in the unconscious level.
Chillingworth as a Freudian analyst realizes the conflict that the patient experiences, so he tries to solve the conflict among his id, ego and superego. Hawthorne clarifies the relationship between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale with these lines; Thus Roger Chillingworth scrutinized his patient carefully, both as he saw him in his ordinary life, keeping an accustomed pathway in the range of thoughts familiar to him, and as he appeared when thrown amidst other moral scenery, the novelty of which might call out something new to the surface of his character.
He wants to go into the deeper part of Dimmesdale s unconscious as an analyst to explore the cause of Dimmesdale s suffering.
Chillingworth like a talented psychoanalyst attempts to enlighten the inner world of Dimmesdale to heal his soul and solve the conflict that he experiences. However, as Chillingworth knows Dimmesdale s real identity, his only aim is to punish him by abusing his grief. Arthur Dimmesdale Arthur Dimmesdale as the other main male character in the novel has to suppress his desires for a married woman according to the norms of Puritan society.
Since he cannot resist his desire for Hester Prynne and because of this lack of control, he commits adultery. Dimmesdale has an ongoing fight with his id, ego, and superego that affects both his actions and personality strongly.
He suffers from an agony of remorse. But he does not have the courage to make a public confession of his guilt. Dimmesdale suffers from the sin he has committed, however he is not courageous enough to reveal his sin to the Puritan community. He gets stuck in his id and ego. At the end of the novel, when Dimmesdale meets Hester in the forest, it is clear that Dimmesdale has difficulty resisting his desire and passion for Hester.
Both lovers decide to flee to Europe in order to make a fresh start. This is the second time in the novel when Dimmesdale acts according to his emotions and feelings rather than accepted moral norms. Hawthorne highlights the feelings of Dimmesdale after the decision of leaving Boston with Hester and Pearl is made: The decision once made, a glow of strange enjoyment threw its flickering brightness over the trouble of his breast.
It was the exhilarating effectupon a prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heartof breathing the wild, free atmosphere of an unredeemed, unchristianized, lawless region Hawthorne, In this scene, Dimmesdale s id plays an important role in making this decision just like Hester Prynne.
He wants to forget all the titles and burdens he has and yet he cannot find enough power to resist the temptation of his love for Hester Prynne. When he is under the influence of his id, he feels that he might have enough power to stand up to all the obstacles and fight against them. Yet rather than confessing his secret affair in public, Dimmesdale resorts to repressing unwanted ideas and desires held in the depths of his unconscious. He is well aware of the fact that he is repressing all his improper and unacceptable ideas instead of facing them.
In her article, Diana Donnelly points out the repression that Dimmesdale experiences throughout the novel Dimmesdale first experiences a more serious weakening of repression, leading to a confusion about reality, when he attempts to put himself in Hester s shoes by holding a vigil on the same scaffold she stood on Donnelly,. It can be inferred from Dimmesdale s acts and behaviors that he cannot manage to solve the conflict he experiences in his inner world. He cannot control his id and ego equally, that is why he experiences a kind of changing nature of personality.
Dimmesdale s unwillingness to reveal his sin causes him to repress feelings and thoughts in his unconscious, also while experiencing repression causing a slowly worsening mental condition in him.
His conscience impels him to reveal his sinful act, but his cowardice restrains him from doing this. He is aware of the apparent results of repressing his desires and feelings; however even though he fails, he cannot find another way to end his self- torture.
On the one hand, he really wants to get rid of this agony that surrounds his heart completely; on the other hand, he cannot find the courage to acknowledge that he is a sinner and reveal this fact to his community.
The only moment he feels relief is when he gives his last sermon to the congregation. Since he had kept a diary revealing his sin and suffering for all these years, he experienced a sense of deep relief by confessing his sinful act in front of the people.
Donnelly describes Dimmesdale s attitude by stating Tormented by guilt and sensing he is about to die, Dimmesdale is relieved by the knowledge that he is about to unburden himself to a public he will never have to face, hoping he might redeem himself in the eyes of God Donnelly,.
He decides that repressing this sinful act is not necessary any more, for both him and Hester Prynne, that perhaps; everybody should learn the truth in the end.
Revealing his sin gives him the endless peace and redemption that he has been searching for seven years. Dimmesdale s relief and belief in God s mercy is understood by these lines For thee and Pearl, be it as God shall order, said the minister and God is merciful! Let me do the will which he hath made plain before my sight. For, Hester, I am a dying man.
So let make haste to take my shame upon me. Actually, he is still punished despite being dead, because he will be away from his Hester and Pearl. Why Dimmesdale feels relieved and peaceful is only because he leaves this world with a clean soul, and by confessing his sin to the public, he purifies his soul and finds peace when he reaches to the God.
Hawthorne describes the peace and relief that Dimmesdale feels when he is about to die with these lines: My little Pearl, said he feebly, and there was a sweet and gentle smile over his face, as of a spirit sinking into deep repose; nay, now that the burden was removed, it seemed almost as if he would be sportive with the child, dear little Pearl, wilt thou kiss me now?
At the end, Dimmesdale embraces his family and his unification is achieved. It means in the end, the conflict has been solved. Revealing his sin, and admitting Pearl is his daughter helps Dimmesdale find redemption and peace in death. The only thing he wants to know is whether God forgives him or not when he reaches heaven.
The conflicts that Dimmesdale experiences between his id and super ego make his sin unendurable. He feels ashamed of committing such a sinful act since he is a holy man in the eyes of his people. Although he is not punished like Hester, who was humiliated in front of the community, Dimmesdale punishes himself each day by torturing his psyche.
In this case, his superego functions as his censor. What constitutes unbearability seems to me of central importance in all analytic work, and can be related to conflicting superego ideals, to the framework of judgment that individuals bring to bear on their feelings Kilbourne,.
Shame can be interpreted as a kind of defense for Dimmesdale. His deep, irresistible desire and passion towards Hester Prynne result in his feelings of shame. The sinful act they commit together brings shame to both of them. The clash between his moral values represented under the name of superego and his yearning for gratification of his passion for Hester result in shame. The reason why Dimmesdale s shame is unbearable is that he is aware of the fact that not only Hester but also he himself must be punished and humiliated in front of Puritan community and he must share the feeling of shame with his lover while she is standing on the scaffold.
He does not have enough courage to risk his status in Puritan society. Kilborne defines the term, shame like that shame often results from the intensity and overwhelming quality of emotions, rather than from any particular feeling Kilborne,.
Dimmesdale s strong desire and passion for Hester Prynne causes him to forget his own identity and his holy status in Puritan society. The forest scene has a significant impact on Dimmesdale s on both conscious and unconscious level.
He actually tries to repress all his desires towards Hester, because his desire and passion for her remind him of his guilt and thus he wants to purge these happy moments from his mind in order to remove all the guilt he feels. Dianne Donnelly explains Dimmesdale s psychological state by stating By immersing himself in a project demanding his attention and getting his mind off happy thoughts about Hester, Dimmesdale instinctively and adaptively reinstates the repression of wicked thoughts that had too abruptly entered consciousness.
In this manner, he also reinstates his identity as a minister, another higher mental function he was in danger of losing after his blissful time with Hester Donnelly, Dimmesdale needs to focus on something rather than his guilt in order to direct his attention away from Hester Prynne, because he is aware of the fact that he has still responsibilities for his Puritan community as a minister and a holy man despite the decision he makes with to sin with Hester Prynne.
While working at the Salem Custom House a tax collection agency , the narrator discovered in the attic a manuscript accompanied by a beautiful scarlet letter "A. The Scarlet Letter is that novel. The novel is set in seventeenth-century Boston, a city governed by strict Puritan law.
The story begins as Hester Prynne, the novel's protagonist, is led out of a prison carrying an infant, named Pearl, in her arms. A bright red "A" is embroidered on her chest.
A crowd waits expectantly as Hester is forced to climb up a scaffold to endure public shame for her sin. While on the scaffold, Hester is terrified to recognize her estranged husband, Chillingworth, in the crowd. He recognizes her too, and is shocked. Chillingworth pretends not to know Hester, and learns her story from a man in the crowd: she was married to an English scholar who was supposed to follow her to Boston but never showed up.
After two years she fell into sin, committing the adultery that resulted in her baby and the scarlet "A" on her breast. Chillingworth predicts the unknown man will be found out, but when the beloved local Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale commands Hester to reveal the man's name, she refuses and is sent back to her prison cell. Chillingworth poses as a doctor to get inside the prison to speak with Hester, and there forces her to promise never to reveal that he's her husband. Three years pass. Hester is let out of prison and moves to the outskirts of Boston, near the forest.
She makes a living as a seamstress, though the people who employ her still shun her. Hester refuses to tell Pearl what the scarlet letter signifies, and Pearl becomes obsessed with the letter. Meanwhile, Chillingworth is working in Boston as a physician, though he has no formal medical training. One of his patients is Dimmesdale, who has fallen ill with heart trouble.
Chillingworth moves in with Dimmesdale to care for him full-time and begins to suspect a connection between Dimmesdale's heart ailment and Hester's crime. When he discovers that Dimmesdale has carved a mark over his heart that resembles Hester's scarlet letter, Chillingworth realizes that Dimmesdale is Hester's lover. Chillingworth decides to torment and expose Dimmesdale. Under Chillingworth's cruel care, Dimmesdale's health deteriorates. Dimmesdale's guilt for committing and concealing adultery causes him profound emotional suffering.