Complete summary of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Minister's Black Veil. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Minister's Black Veil.‎The Minister's Black Veil Themes · ‎The Minister's Black Veil - Essay · ‎Analysis. The main theme of The Minister's Black Veil is secret sin. The story begins with Mr. Hooper presiding over the congregation of a Puritan town. The church-goers. Get all the key plot points of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Minister's Black Veil on one page. From the creators of SparkNotes.


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People who had previously advised the pastor try to persuade him to take off the veil, but in the presence of the intimidating veil, their words cease. She had asked him to remove the veil earlier, the ministers black veil he had answered that he must wear it until eternity, when all people will remove their veils.

The Minister's Black Veil - Wikipedia

She now asks him to explain his motives and his mysterious veiled words. She inquires if some deep sorrow or grief causes him to darken his eyes forever. She begs him to take off the black veil, thereby removing the rumors of scandal that are circulating about his ministry.

After periods of pleading, silence, and the ministers black veil crying, Elizabeth experiences for herself the terror of the black veil and begins to tremble.

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In desperation, Hooper pleads with her not to leave him, telling her that the veil is mortal; in eternity there will be no veil on his face, or separation the ministers black veil their souls.

Years pass, and Hooper grows old and sick.


On his deathbed, he is the ministers black veil by Elizabeth, who has continued to love him despite never marrying him. A group of clergymen, including the young Reverend Clark, gather around Hooper and praise him for his moral reputation. They beg him to allow them to remove his veil, so that they may see the face of a good man.

The Minister's Black Veil Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

This veil comes to represent the minister's sin, which remains a secret for the whole story. Hooper initially gives a sermon about sin, and he later attends the funeral of a woman.

Before the coffin is removed, however, Mr. Hooper leans over the body.

The Minister’s Black Veil Summary from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Hooper had on a black the ministers black veil. On a nearer view it seemed to consist of two folds of crape, which entirely concealed his features, except the mouth and chin, but probably did not intercept his sight, further than to give a darkened aspect to all living and the ministers black veil things.

With this gloomy shade before him, good Mr. Hooper walked onward, at a slow and quiet pace, stooping somewhat, and looking on the ground, as is customary with abstracted men, yet nodding kindly to those of his parishioners who still waited on the meeting-house steps.

But so wonder-struck were they that his greeting hardly met with a return. Hooper into the meeting-house, and set all the congregation astir. Few could refrain from twisting their heads towards the ministers black veil door; many stood upright, and turned directly about; while several little boys clambered upon the seats, and came down again with a terrible racket.


There was a general bustle, a rustling of the women's gowns and shuffling of the men's feet, greatly at variance with that hushed repose which should attend the entrance of the minister.

Hooper appeared not to notice the perturbation of his people. He entered with an almost noiseless the ministers black veil, bent his head mildly to the pews on each side, and bowed as he passed his oldest parishioner, a white-haired great grandsire, who occupied an arm-chair in the centre the ministers black veil the aisle.