Nathaniel Hawthorne quote about suffering from The Scarlet Letter - There are few uglier traits of human nature than this tendency—which I now witnessed in men no worse than their neighbors—to grow cruel, merely because they possessed the power of inflicting harm.
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There are few uglier traits of human nature than this tendency—which I now witnessed in men no worse than their neighbors—to grow cruel, merely because they possessed the power of inflicting harm.
 Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850). copy citation

Context

“Strange, too, for one who has kept his calmness throughout the contest, to observe the blood-thirstiness that is developed in the hour of triumph, and to be conscious that he is himself among its objects! There are few uglier traits of human nature than this tendency—which I now witnessed in men no worse than their neighbors—to grow cruel, merely because they possessed the power of inflicting harm. If[44] the guillotine, as applied to office-holders, were a literal fact instead of one of the most apt of metaphors, it is my sincere belief that the active members of the victorious party were sufficiently excited to have chopped off all our heads, and have thanked Heaven for the opportunity!” source

Meaning and analysis

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