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Character Analysis in The Minister's Black Veil

Rev. Hooper: Reverend Hooper frightens his parishioners by wearing a black veil over his face at all times. Hooper’s veil renders him an outcast and causes his fiancee to break of their engagement. While socially isolated, Rev. Hooper becomes an esteemed Reverend and is held in high regard by his fellow clergymen at his death. Hooper never reveals a specific reason for his black veil. He merely states that he sees everyone on Earth with their own veil and that he will be free from it in Heaven.

Elizabeth: Elizabeth is Rev. Hooper’s fiancee. She begs him to remove the veil, or at least to provide her a reason for his wearing of it. When Hooper refuses to fulfill either request, Elizabeth feels she has no other choice but to break off the engagement. While Elizabeth is never romantically reunited with Hooper, she remains single throughout her life and cares for him on his deathbed.

Character Analysis Examples in The Minister's Black Veil:

The Minister's Black Veil


"Did he seek to hide it from the dread Being whom he was addressing?..."   (The Minister's Black Veil)

The capitalization of “Being” indicates that Hawthorne is alluding to God. If Reverend Hooper wishes to hide his face from God, this most likely means Hooper has committed a sin and is ashamed to show his face to God.

"catching a glimpse of his figure in the looking-glass..."   (The Minister's Black Veil)

This is an indication that even Reverend Hooper, who knows exactly why he put on the veil, cannot help but react fearfully to the sight of himself covered by the veil. Its influence is all-pervasive, affecting both the wearer and those who view it. He offers himself as a sacrifice to exhibit the existence of his sins publicly in order to symbolize his own and the sins of others.

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