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Seven Sins

Updated May 16, 2022
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Seven Sins essay

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The notion of the seven deadly sins, as a matter of fact, originated amidst the Catholic religion. Hawthorne’s “The House of the Seven Gables”, which is considered a literary masterpiece, is speculated to be in relation to the seven deadly sins.Since Hawthorne was rooted in a Puritan practice of moral sincerity, these claims may hold some truth.”The seven sins include lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.”1 Why are these the seven deadly sins? Each sin is believed to work opposite to the root of Christianity.In the Bible, no verses declare these specific seven by name.

Proverbs declares something similar to the seven deadly sins: There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (English Standard Version, Proverbs 6:16-19)2 The book appears to have a strong and apparent allusion to sin. In the Book’s preface, Hawthorne states “… the wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and… becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief…” (Hawthorne 5)3.Unsurprisingly, almost the entire Pyncheon family had the same sins.

They were greedy. They were prideful. They were envious.Among the Pyncheons, the sin of greed was commonly and carelessly committed the most. Greed greatly influenced their actions. Greed is a more likely cause for the Pyncheon family’s misfortune than the curse inflicted on them by Maule. Most everyone in the Pyncheon family was immensely proud to be a Pyncheon. Phoebe is the only exception to this.

Phoebe is not too keen on the idea of being a Pyncheon. Phoebe is believed to be the image of an impeccable and flawless woman in Hawthorne’s mind. The Pyncheon family has such pride that even during their times of poverty, they continued to scoff at those not of aristocratic descent. The envy of the Pyncheon family appears and wreaks havoc again and again throughout the novel. The envy of Colonel Pyncheon was the most prominent in my opinion. Colonel Pyncheon was so envious of Maule’s land that he went out of his way to see that Maule was accused and hanged for witchcraft. This envy shows in Hepzibah when she sees the work ethic and friendliness of Phoebe. There were a few more acts of envy, but those were the two major ones that stuck out in my mind. The not so prominent sins were lust, gluttony, sloth, and wrath.

Lust is shown with Hepzibah when she looks at the painting of a man on the wall.Phoebe shows lust when it becomes obvious that she and Holgrave have an interest in each other. When Clifford is able to leave jail, he goes home and immediately begins eating to an excess. Continually, the customers of Hepzibah’s shop buy all of her baked goods. I feel Hepzibah is the perfect representation of sloth. She made the decision not to become a travelling merchant. All she really has to do is open a door every morning. Since she puts in the least amount of work, she makes less profit from being lazy. Wrath is very much shown by Clifford towards Judge Pyncheon, who also happens to be his cousin, because Judge Pyncheon framed Clifford for murder.

There are quite a few more adequate examples of characters and their sins, but the ones mentioned stuck out to me the most. This evidence is convincing enough for me to believe Hawthorne intended to include the seven deadly sins. Although not explicitly mentioned in the novel, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove the correlation. The Pyncheon family brought their misfortune onto themselves by letting their desire for excess get the better of them. They were never satisfied with what they had. Within the midst of their pride and earthly pleasures, there was misery.

They tried to fill the hole in their lives with objects and temporary pleasures that never brought lasting happiness. I feel that Hawthorne was trying to convey this to us as he wrote this book. I believe he was trying to say that we should focus on things that matter. “The House of the Seven Gables” shows what commiting the seven deadly sins can not only do to you, but your offspring and theirs.

Seven Sins essay

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Seven Sins. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/seven-sins/

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