Analysis Of D. H. Lawrence's On Hester Prynne

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is seen as a hero by some and as corruption and sin itself by others. She commits adultery, perceived as one of the worst sins by Puritan society, but also comes to terms with it. D.H. Lawrence conveys his thoughts on the subject of whether the protagonist of the novel should be considered a hero in his essay “On Hester Prynne”. He claims that the whole idea of Hester being a hero is ridiculous because The Scarlet Letter was meant to be satirical when relating to the topic of who is seen as a hero. Lawrence believes that she has corrupted Dimmesdale, the young and pure minister, and does not deserve the praise she is receiving from Hawthorne and other authors like Van Doren. Hester…show more content…
Lawrence uses biblical allusions to help demonstrate that Hester is a sinner because they compare her to well-known figures in a way that brings out her corruptness. Lawrence compares Hester to Mary by saying she is “the sacred image of sinless Motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world” (Lawrence). Mary is one of the most pure figures in religion and Lawrence is blatantly being sarcastic in his comparison of the two character to provide an idea of how ridiculous it is to consider Hester a hero. Mary was given the gift of Jesus by God while remaining a virgin and faithful to her husband. Hester on the other hand had a baby with a man she was not married to. Moreover, Hester is compared to Abel from the story of Cain and Abel. While Dimmesdale is the one who dies for their sins, Hester “lives on and is Abel” (Lawrence). One would think that Lawrence would compare Hester to Cain instead, considering he is the one who lives and Abel is the one who dies. By stating this, Lawrence is showing the irony and ridiculousness that Hawthorne ensures by condemning the pure and innocent Dimmesdale to death but the sinning and corrupt Hester to live on. He is also using “Abel” as a play on words in an ironic way, demonstrating that the A stands for able and Abel, but is given to the person farthest from resembling

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