Character Analysis: Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon

June 20, 2019 by Essay Writer

It has almost become an everyday slogan, in light of present events, that behind everything that seems so perfect there is some horrible mistake, or some terrible sin waiting to come back and rear its ugly head. Nathaniel Hawthorne could not have given any better example of this than the honorable Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon from his novel The House of Seven Gables. Hawthorne illustrates that behind even the most prominent, religious, and social icon, there is always that one regretted mistake that causes everything in one’s life to collapse.In the beginning of his essay, Hawthorne addresses all the notable achievements and attributes of Judge Pyncheon, from his generosity to widows and orphans to his office as president of the Bible Society. Hawthorne portrays the Judge as the epitome of faithfulness, justice, and compassion. The author flaunts Judge Pyncheon’s friendly demeanor through his various charities to society. Hawthorne tells of the Judge’s contribution to horticulture by his development of two, very esteemed, variations of a pear. Judge Pyncheon is revealed as a charismatic public figure who was always eager to greet whomever he came across along the streets; the author even goes as far as to say that his prominent smile “made it a point to gladden the world”. He was never afraid to express his faith; Judge Pyncheon made it a habit to pray at least twice a day and to say grace before every meal. His outward appearance modeled him as the ideal Christian, who looked to be as righteous as any Saint you could find on this earth.Through Hawthorne’s depiction of the faithful Judge Pyncheon, it seems that even at first sight one could realize the brilliance and nobility that seemed to radiate off the prominent Judge. His dress was as distinctive as his character; Hawthorne makes every effort to focus on details when describing his elaborate dress, going to the extent of stating, “the snowy whiteness of his linen, the polish of his boots, his gold-headed-cane, the square roomy fashion of his coat and the fineness of its material.” This statement further illustrates the prestigious life-style that the judge was trying to live out. It even says that when he looked in the mirror that he could even be thinking of himself, “Behold Judge Pyncheon, there.” This statement shows the reader that the Judge is not lacking in his pride department. This act of selfish, almost haughty, pride is almost foreshadowing his inevitable downfall, which validates the scripture that states, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (PROV. 6:18).After the reader goes through Hawthorne’s positive examination of Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, he finally is shown the dark-side of this once-described righteous man. The reader now figures out that this secret dark-side of the Judge is not as hard to comprehend after discovering the many oppressive actions of his relatives and ancestors. Hawthorne’s depicts Judge Pyncheon as a noble, honest, faithful, spiritual, generous, and illustrious gentleman, but then in a metaphorical blink of an eye, Hawthorne slyly, but noticeably, changes his tone towards the Judge. It now appears to the reader that the judge is a deceiving, almost criminal-like human being, who without his notable public deeds, was nothing but the typical Pyncheon at heart. This immediate tone change leaves the reader perplexed and confused on whether to hate the Judge or still admire him. Hawthorne’s perplexing way of developing the character of Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon is one of original and complex structure, which leaves the reader unsure of his true feelings of this multi-faceted character. But to the reader one thing is for sure, Judge Pyncheon should spend less time looking in the mirror and more time looking into his soul and practicing what he preaches.

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