The Scarlet Letter is one of my favorite books and after re-reading the novel, I was able to further explore the question of whether humans are naturally good or not.
People often receive satisfaction by inflicting pain or misery on those inferior to them. They are driven by a desire for power because it is human nature to crave dominance over others. This need for supremacy explains why bullying is such a major issue in society today. All people, especially kids, are fueled by a natural, innate competitiveness and jealousy which leads them to commit unethical actions in order to achieve the ultimate goal of rising above others.
The Scarlet Letter explains how even the most admired and respected member of a community has the capability of possessing undesirable thoughts and committing crime. Arthur Dimmesdale, a Puritan minister and a model citizen for the people, committed the act of adultery and fathered an illegitimate child. Hypocritical as this may seem, the best member of a society is actually hiding the worst secret, proving that humans are incapable of goodness if even the best member is drawn to darkness.