Hester And Hester Prynne In 'The Scarlet Letter'

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Literary critic D. H. Lawrence criticizes Nathaniel Hawthorne’s character Hester Prynne from the novel The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne portrays Hester Prynne as a pure character while Lawrence provides a powerful and logical explanation as to why Hester does not deserve any admiration. In his essay, “On The Scarlet Letter,” D. H. Lawrence applies precise diction, biblical allusions, and dramatic verbal irony to emphasize Hester Prynne as a character who should be criticized and mocked for her sins. Lawrence uses the words “demon” and “witch” to express his antipathy towards Hester Prynne. Lawrence suspects Hester to be an atrocious influence to others as he states, “Oh, Hester, you are a demon. A man must be pure, just that you can seduce him to a fall” (Lawrence). He utilizes the word “demon” to accuse Hester as the…show more content…
Lawrence describes Hester as “another Magdalen” to create a relationship between the two characters (Lawrence). This represents verbal irony because Magdalen portrays the symbol of hope for compensating her sins and living more freely, while oppositely, Hester carries the burden of the scarlet letter and refuses to redeem her sins. This is effective towards Lawrence’s disapproval of Hester because it shows that she as an irredeemable sinner compared to Magdalen. Lawrence also uses his dramatic language by stating, “All America gives in to it. Look Pure!” (Lawrence). Labeling Hester as “pure” is ironic because she is a sinful adulteress who lost her innocence and clearly does not represent morality. This verbal irony is effective because Lawrence’s sarcastic descriptions of Hester as a corrupt character further indicates his distasteful opinion towards her. These two examples of verbal irony reflected in Lawrence’s essay brings a sarcastic and mocking tone, which also helps highlight his main purpose of criticizing Hester for her immortal

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