Scarlet 1 A Study of the Use of Irony as a Literary Device in the Scarlet Letter
Situational irony in this novel has a symbolic meaning because one of the main characters, Hester Prynne, is supposed to wear the red letter A that symbolizes her sin of adultery that he committed with the young minister Arthur Dimmesdale’s. The situational verbal irony contextualized by the letter A is that the sin of the priest becomes to stay hidden and unknown to the public. Instead, his image of the public figure is true and non-ruined, although, even Arthur and Hester have the daughter Pearl, the fruit of their love.Situational irony in the literary work serves to justify the completeness of the novel, its significance within the chosen context. For the Puritan community, the Scarlet Letter is the symbolic interpretation of the reality in which they live day by day, losing their moral values and moral worth. Each of the main characters of the novel serves the example of how to deal with the emotional intensification adequately responding to the actual acute questions, issues, and challenges to reach a better understanding of the background of Christian faith. Meaningfully, the role of the irony in the novel is high, for it helps to justify the choice of the other literary devices to highlight the aspects of essential contextual meanings of words, letters, and verbal phrases simplifying the settings in which the heroes are subjected to act and live. However, the dramatic irony develops right when the husband of Hester Roger Chillingworth discovers the sin of Hester and promises to revenge her lover, although, by that time, he does not know that it is Dimmesdale.The themes of repentance and sin are central in the novel, and Hawthorne loves to use the irony as the literary device to contextualize the dramatic events in which the characters of Dimmesdale and Hester are involved. The red letter is the reminder of sin, and the irony highlights the ruin of the harmony between the relationships that heroes created by the imagination of Hawthorne possess. Hester and Dimmesdale are supposed to lose comfort in the frameworks of irony plot development. The irony in the novel The Scarlet Letter is just the notion of the highlighted settings where the dramatic characters have chosen to live and love. It is the Puritan town where moral values are that much valued by the people that they gradually tend to lose the sense of forgiveness between them, so they are not ready to have the compassion to Hester and Dimmesdale’s that committed the sin of adultery.The situational irony in the novel is represented by Dimmesdale’s image that is one of the dramatic heroes being exposed to the dual role of a minister and an adulterer. Right from the time he had the love affairs with Hester, Dimmesdale’s image is ruined in the eyes of the readers, although the irony serves to emphasize his double-sided nature. He tends to reveal the hypocrisy when spending time at preaching the Word of the Gospel in his church, while his parishioners do not even know about his sinful nature. The situational and verbal irony in the Scarlet Letter is used by Hawthorne to display the behavioral patterns that were typical for the age of Puritanism in the United States of America. Indeed, the device serves to highlight the dramatic events from the side of the story of the love affair between Dimmesdale and Hester. Both characters are displayed in eventual transgression from the norms of morality up to the extent where the irony of the minister’s morality is focused on the ruin of his iconic image of a preacher. The verbal irony of the symbolic Scarlet Letter is that on the one hand, Dimmesdale’s image is positive in the opinion of his parishioners, but on the other hand, he is subjected to the decline of moral values and extensive corruption. The dramatic irony in this story highlights the optional choice between the sin and morality, confession, and secrecy, although all the heroes, by irony, are subjected to the load of the sin that is hidden in the dramatic settings of the false morality.In the Puritan society, following its attitude to Hester, by irony, people have been trying to hide their sins under the veil of the saint-like behavior, although this is almost impossible in that little town like Boston. Under these settings, Hawthorne uses the verbal and situational explication of the love affairs of Dimmesdale and Hester as the symbolic interpretation of the moral decline that both characters have to expose while spending time together and being obliged to repay for their sinful corruption. By the dramatic irony used by Hawthorne, Dimmesdale’s image as a minister is not the only presupposition that should protect him from sin, but his reputation is the treasure of the Puritan community of Boston, where Dimmesdale’s public figure is respected and praised. By an irony, these are the settings where characters of the Scarlet Letter can hardly manage to uncover their emotions, while, essentially, their feelings are subjected to the worries of their future as their daughter Pearl should be blamed for the sins of her parents. Dimmesdale’s emotions are hidden under the veil of secrecy, for he has been trying to reach the dramatic repentance obtaining the hope to get released from fears and a sense of unawareness.On the other hand, Hawthorne uses verbal situational irony to highlight the transgression of meanings in which young characters Hester and Dimmesdale of Red Letter are supposed to live. As reflected in many dialogues between the novel’s characters, the irony emphasizes the dramatic events in which the heroes should choose between the actions that have moral worth and sinful behavioral patterns. As for Dimmesdale’s choice, the effective usage or the irony is reflected in his example of preaching for his sin and feelings about it contributes to his becoming closer to the community in which he is supposed to live. For a better understanding of the moral worth of the irony, Hawthorne uses the supplemental choice of the literary devices that contribute to the disclosure of behavioral patterns under the situational and verbal elements of his story. In the Red Letter, characters make a choice on their own, although it is strictly limited to the background of the Puritan society that has almost nothing in common with the sense of moral worth of forgiveness and repentance. Hester and Dimmesdale live in fear to be caught for adultery, and they choose to keep secrecy, by irony, not to be caught in the cage of frustration, despair, and sorrow.Both Hester and Dimmesdale are the victims of the Puritan society, and Hawthorne displays this fact with the extensive significance of the usage of irony that he chooses to imply in the context of the settings of the small American town. People here stay apart from the values of temperance and repentance, as they are tied to the bounds of secrecy of sins. Following the events depicted in the Scarlet 1: A study of the use of irony as a literary device in the Scarlet letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, we can conclude that the values and lifestyle common for the Puritan society are contradicting to the teaching of Christ that ordered to live lives full of forgiveness and love in the neighborhood. The writer uses irony as the literary device to highlight such opposition in the novel.