In the Puritan era, committing the sinful act of adultery is illegal and punishable by a variety of condemnations. When Hester Prynne commits adultery, she is forced to wear the scarlet letter on her bosom because she refuses to confess who her partner is. The presence of the scarlet letter changes the Puritan society’s view of Hester. The scarlet letter’s initial role as an allegory of sin is projected onto Hester as a whole. The young people are taught to “look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,—at her, the ... ... middle of paper ... ...its evolution as a symbol through time.
"At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead." (p.36) The initial opinion of the society is extremely cruel and Hester, who tries desperately to remain strong and undisturbed in the face of this mob anger, is by no means deaf. The cruel actions of the townspeople throughout the novel contribute to the ways in which the scarlet letter affects Hester. Yet, these affects of the scarlet letter on Hester can be defined more specifically when examined on the symbolic level. In many ways, Hes... ... middle of paper ... ...rol over the scarlet letter.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is, at times, a piece that seems intended to drive one beyond any hope of reasoning. Its occasionally overpowering allegorical symbolism or its seemingly eclectic mythology can certainly seem like a purist allegory designed to imbue in one the fear of eternal sin. However, when one takes the time to read beyond the simple story and to realize the true nature of Hawthorne's verbal artistry, it becomes clear that the piece is, as stated by Richard Chase, “a novel with beautifully assimilated allegorical elements” (149). With regards to Hawthorne's mythology, Chase's assertion is, perhaps, less accurate but no less reasonable. Throughout the novel one finds a rich mythology supplemented with allegorical aspects of both characters and settings that indeed encompasses all that Chase presents even as it extends beyond his ideas into a deeper, more meaningful work of art.
For example, before Hester emerges from the prison she is being scorned by a group of women who feel that she deserves a larger punishment than she actually receives. Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death (Hawthorne 51). Perhaps the most important influence on the story is the author's interest in the "dark side" ("Introduction" VIII). Unlike the transcendentalists of the era, Hawthorne "confronted reality, rather than evading it" (VII). Likewise, The Scarlet Letter deals with adultery, a subject that caused much scandal when it w!
Cursed with the permanent mark of adultery upon her bosom, Hester Prynne, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, faces many hardships and disgrace. Referencing these hardships, Hawthorne portrays the scarlet letter as the forbidden mark of adultery. Upon first meeting Hester, the scarlet letter is a symbol for adultery and disgrace. As the story progresses, the scarlet letter evolves into a symbol of wisdom and identity. Hawthorne utilizes each different meaning of the scarlet letter to make a commentary on the Puritan society.
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. More needs she the divine than the physician." (Shakespeare - Macbeth) Okay, I know this is Shakespeare, but it sums up the suffering of The Scarlet Letter well. Doesn't it? Hester suffers society's judgement for her adultery, the letter A (a constant reminder of her infidelity).
Then it the scarlet ‘A’ means a lot of things to Pearl which many many of which are different than her mother. Finally it the letter means something totally different to Dimmesdale, the father of the Hester’s adulterous baby. The scarlet letter is the back-story for the whole booknovel. It is one of the most symbolic symbols of the whole book. It causes us to really thing what the book is about.
Their religious views were as harsh as to publicly humiliate those who have been accused of sin or witchcraft, such as this novel, in which they punished Hester Prynne by forcing her to wear an embroided “A” a symbolic figure for adultery. One can say that there was not many roles women had, other than taking care of the living back home, during Puritan times. The most important place this book conveyed was that of Hester Prynne’s. The role Hester Prynne has in The Scarlet Letter but also in modern society has been criticized by many including the author himself. Many can say that Hester Prynne was the symbolic figure of sin and temptation shown through her “crime” of committing adultery with a puritan minister by the name of Dimmesdale.
She assaulted individual's already established morals by presenting a plausible case for bigamy. Notions which should have evoked disgust and outrage from its reader. Yet its most scandaless aspect was its open treatment of love. Passionate love scenes which were for their day extremely explicit but by today's standards are less than tame. Bronte's choice of a strong independent heroine depicted feminist ideals that would later lead to the overhaul of Victorian culture.
See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a millionfold the Power of retribution of my sin?" (Hawthorne 100). Hawthorne shows that Pearl represents the scarlet letter not only symbolically but literally as well. Hester says that Pearl is the living scarlet letter, and causes Hester more anguish than the scarlet letter itself. Pearl is only difficult when she sees her mother trying to flee her sins the wrong way.