The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a book of love, lust, passion, and punishment.The main character Hester Prynne is right in the middle of all of these things, along with being in the middle of a rocky relationship with her husband.In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows the reader the consequences of being part of an unfair relationship.It is the society’s comfort zone, having males dominate. Males have always been thought to be stronger, braver, and more able. They should dominate society, and the women should follow.But in The Scarlet Letter, Hester goes against the patriarchal society, and does what she wants.For that she is punished.
Hester Prynne is the main character of the book, and her husband is Chillingsworth, an old, broken down man.In the book, Hester commits adultery with Dimmsdale, the town’s minister.By giving the reader insight to Hester and Chillingsworth’s relationship, the reader can see why Hester may have committed the horrible sin of adultery.Hester and Chillingsworth had a bad relationship.Hester was young and beautiful, Chillingsworth was old and stale.A young woman wants true love.She wants someone she can love and someone who will love her back.Chillingsworth wasn’t able to offer her those things.Together they did not mix well.
According to psychologists, there are two different people in an unequal or unfair relationship.There is the overbenefitted and the underbenefitted.In The Scarlet Letter, Hester is the underbenefitted and Chillingsworth is the overbenefitted.Hester, unfortunately, was not getting the benefit of the relationship.Hester was young, and young women want love, someone handsome that they can fall in love with.They want someone who will love them for who they are, not based on social standing, or treat them with respect, not as inadequate objects.According to studies done by Elaine Hatfield and colleagues, in unequal relationships, the underbenefitted tends to feel more stress.They are the victims of inequality.They don’t benefit from the relationship at all.For example Hester had nothing to win from her relationship with Chillingsworth.Yes Chillingsworth could provide a good life for Hester.Chillingsworth was a well respected man and many women probably would have been happy with him.But Hester didn’t choose Chillingsworth, he chose her.They say that the underbenefitted should feel angry, but it didn’t seem like Hester showed anger.She dealt with her problem in a different way, by committing adultery. It could be said that Hester committed adultery because she didn’t feel loved.
Chillingsworth was the overbenefitted in the relationship.Chillingsworth had nothing to lose but everything to gain from his marriage to Hester.He was an old man married to a beautiful young girl; of course he was the overbenefitted of the relationship.He didn’t deserve Hester, yet he had her.The overbenefitted of the relationship feels less stress and he benefits from the relationship, but he should also feel guilt.Chillingsworth knew that Hester wasn’t happy, but he continued the relationship anyways.In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne tells the reader how Chillingsworth feels guilty for being married to Hester.Chillingsworth realized that Hester didn’t really want a marriage with him; she was more forced into it.Society was pushing her to marry him.She didn’t have much of.