It may also be the most typical of his work, the strongest statement of his recurrent themes, and an excellent example of his craftsmanship.
The main theme in , as in most of Hawthorne’s work, is that of sin and its effects both on the individual and on society.
There are also resemblances between Dimmesdale and Parson Hooper in “The Minister’s Black Veil,” who continues to perform the duties of his calling with eloquence and compassion but is permanently separated from the company of men by the veil that he wears as a symbol of secret sin.
Chillingworth shows resemblances to Ethan Brand, the limeburner who finds the unpardonable sin in his own heart: “The sin of an intellect that triumphed over the sense of brotherhood with man and reverence for God, and sacrificed everything to its mighty claims!
Hester, whose guilt is openly known, grows through her suffering into an extraordinarily compassionate and understanding woman, a complete person who is able to come to terms with all of life, including sin.
Dimmesdale, who yearns for the relief of confession but hides his guilt to safeguard his role as pastor, is devoured internally.We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. That old man’s revenge has been blacker than my sin.He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart. Always more concerned with the consequences than with the cause of sin, Hawthorne to a remarkable extent anticipated Sigmund Freud’s theories of the effects of guilt.” Hawthorne’s craftsmanship is splendidly demonstrated in itself is repeatedly entwined into the narrative as a symbol of sin and shame, as a reminder of Hester’s ability with the needle and her capability with people, and in Dimmesdale’s case, as evidence of the searing effects of secret guilt.Hawthorne often anticipates later developments with hints or forewarnings: There is, for example, the suggestion that Pearl lacks complete humanity, perhaps because she has never known great sorrow, but at the end of the story when Dimmesdale dies, Hawthorne writes, “as [Pearl’s] tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it.” Hawthorne’s skill as a symbolist is fully in evidence.For his part, Chillingworth permits vengeance to permeate his spirit so much that his alienation is absolute; he refers to himself as a “fiend,” unable to impart forgiveness or to change his profoundly evil path.His is the unpardonable sin—unpardonable not because God will not pardon, but because his own nature has become so depraved that he cannot repent or accept forgiveness.The other, which is closely related to the first, is the relationship between men, and of man to humanity as a whole. Only be giving yourself totally to His devotion can you escape hell's gapping, flaming mouth. Religious leaders spit out so many fearful images that the people had no choice but to follow "God's" will. Many of Hawthorne's works center around what is right or wrong, and the consequences of breaking the basic links between humans by committing acts of sin. Now imagine that even after all that fire and brimstone, you decide to do it your way anyway. "Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town? Hawthorne clearly distinguishes between sins of passion and those of principle.Even Dimmesdale, traditional Puritan though he is, finally becomes aware of the difference.