Public Punishment In The Scarlet Letter

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“The law can never save us; and he is nearest to the forgiveness of the gospel who, with a contrite heart, discerns most clearly and feels most profoundly that perfection of the Divine statute which impeaches and condemns him.” Is public punishment really required to feel penitent for your sin? To feel penitent you must express humble or regretful pain or sorrow for the sins or offenses you have committed. This is a very controversial issue between the government and those governed under its laws, the general public. Many people in today's government feel that public punishment isn't required for one to feel penitent for the sin they've committed. However, in a Puritan society, the view on punishment in relation to sin would have been very…show more content…
In the Puritan society, those who committed horrible sins were to be publically punished, but does this really help the sinner to become penitent for their sin? In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn, Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale both commit the same sin of adultery. One is punished for the sin while the other isn't and keeps it a hidden secret from the rest of the Puritan community. However in the end, the one that was punished for the sin isn't truly penitent for the sin while the one who was punished for the sin was truly penitent for the sin he has committed. Repentance, is not merely feeling sorry for sin. A person may feel truly remorseful for their critical spirit, greed, or anger. As important as it is to feel the weight of our sin, these emotions are not repentance. In fact, if we accept tears as repentance, then we can actually obstruct the person from doing the really hard work of change. Reverend Dimmesdale tried really hard to change in order to feel penitent while Hester didn't try and make a change even after she was publically punished. This proves that public punishment isn't truly required to feel penitent for your
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