Literary Elements in The Scarlet Letter by Arthur Miller

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Literary Elements in The Scarlet Letter by Arthur Miller The Scarlet Letter is set in the seventeenth century, puritanical, New England colony of Massachusetts. The complete action is set in the town of Boston with the scenes shifting within it. The crucial scaffold scenes are set in the market place, while the decisive meeting of Hester and Dimmesdale is set in the forest. The novel, however, opens with a prison setting, foreshadowing the future seclusion, gloominess and condemnation of the protagonists. Table of Contents CHARACTERS Major Characters Hester Prynne - the protagonist of the novel who is an English woman and the wife of Roger Chillingworth. She is tried and condemned for her sin of adultery with Dimmesdale and charged to wear the scarlet letter, "A", an indication of adultery, on the bosom of her gown forever. Even though she has a daughter out of wedlock, she refuses to reveal who the father is. As a young woman, her youthful beauty, luxuriant hair, and excellent features are diminished by her self- effacing puritanical way of dressing. As an older lady, she returns to Boston where she is finally accepted for her kindness and service. Arthur Dimmesdale - the young, handsome, and unmarried pastor of Hester's church. Apart from committing adultery with Hester, he is guilty of hiding his sin. His intense suffering and remorse, however, are reflected in his rundown physical appearance. He emerges as the tragic figure of the novel around whom revolves the plot's suspense and on whom the reader's attention is centered. Thus, he is also considered a protagonist, like Hester. Roger Chillingworth - a scholarly physician who has sent his wife ahead of him to America. He fails to join her quickly, for he is captured by Indians from whom he gathers a knowledge of herbal medicine. He is an old, evil, vicious, ugly, and deformed man. His diabolical vengeance on Dimmesdale, while pretending to treat him, makes him the personification of evil. Pearl - the beautiful daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale. She is the living symbol of the scarlet letter and has peculiar traits that make her sometimes appear as a demon. Her love for nature and freedom, her vivacious spirit, her alienation, her rebelliousness, her inquisitiveness, and her innocent but symbolic comments reveal her distinct personality. She is, however, a product of the difficult situation into which she is born.

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