Similarities And Differences Between Hester And Dimmesdale In The Scarlet Letter

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Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale in the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, struggle to go about life. The characters Hester and Dimmesdale both are ostracized in the story and run into complications with the puritan society and how its morals affect them. The literary elements symbolism, imagery, and setting emphasize the motivations and reactions with the conflict of individual vs. society. The “A” or scarlet letter is the ultimate symbol of the entire novel. Initially, the letter symbolized shame then shifted later in time. The differences that Hester and Dimmesdale have with the “A” are the ways that they display it towards the moralistic society. Hester did not fight with society when indicted of the crime that she…show more content…
In the puritan society one is judged by what someone has done in the past or their role in society. Both Hester and Dimmesdale are judged by whom the puritan people think they are. For Hester, the first thing they do when they see her emerge from the doors of the jail is judge her by her looks. For instance the author explained her as, "...tall, with a figure of perfect elegance on a large scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which ,beside being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion was ladylike, too, after the manner of the feminine gentility of those days; characterized by a certain state and dignity" (Hawthorne 46). The women who judge her are viewed as gossipers and judging from jealousy and just out to hurt her. Hester never acts this way towards anyone and she is still viewed as a terrible sinner who should possible die because of a sin. Dimmesdale is viewed as a wise man, a great speaker, and someone to look up to. This is because he is the minister of the community which is highly respected in the puritan society. People viewed him with so much respect that when Dimmesdale admitted his crime, no one could believe it or even believed what they had seen. There were multiple thoughts of what had happened. By way of illustration, “...and the wonderful…show more content…
When Hester has the choice to move away or stay in the community, she decides to stay in the community but in a secluded area in the forest. Hester Prynne did not flee, “On the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage. It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants. It stood on the shore, looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills, towards the west”(Hawthorne 67). She decided to stay but become secluded in the forest because there, one can generate a different identity or character. Rules are not exercised in the forest so she develops herself here. With Dimmesdale, he lives in town where everything is known and anything can be punished if it is necessary. Dimmesdale when living in society has to constantly fear that someone will find out his guilty secret. This puts a burden on his health from the pain he has been feeling from the guilt and weakness he has for not being able to admit his actions. When Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the woods they become happy again. For example, “It was with a feeling which neither of them had ever before experienced,

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