The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Sin Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne's bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her. (14.9)
It's not enough to be responsible for her own sin; Hester decides that she's also responsible for Dimmesdale's sin (hypocrisy) and Chillingworth's sin (pure evilness). Geez, Hester, maybe you should take it easy on yourself.
"What evil have I done the man?" asked Roger Chillingworth again. (14.16)
Uh, well, you've tortured him into a living death? Chillingworth raises an important question, though—not "what evil have I done the man?" but "Who gets to decide what counts as sin?" Chillingworth doesn't think he's done anything wrong, but Dimmesdale has a different opinion: he sees Chillingworth's sin as way worse than his or Hester's.
"Had I one friend, —or were it my worst enemy! —to whom, when sickened with the praises of all other men, I could daily betake myself, and be known as the vilest of all sinners, methinks my soul might keep itself alive thereby. Even thus much of truth would save me! But now, it is all falsehood! —all emptiness! —all death!" (17.18)
Poor Dimmesdale. All he wants is for one person—anyone—to know just how bad he is. But instead, the entire town thinks he's basically an angel on earth. Must be hard.