I feel that Hawthorne condones the adultery of Hester and Dimmesdale. While they committed a sin, the act was not not intended to do harm, but for love. Hawthorne accepts what Hester and Dimmesdale have done because they turned what they did into a force for good. Dimmesdale was better able to serve the town as a minister while Hester becomes selfless and even gives to those “less miserable than herself” and continued to do so even though they “insulted the hand that fed them (Hester at Her Needle).
All throughout the book, Hawthorne subtly criticizes the rigid religious beliefs of his Puritan ancestors and their narrow-mindedness. The townspeople ridicule Hester while ignoring Mistress Hibbins even though she is known to practice witchcraft.