The Scaffold as a Place of Humility and Remorse, Unity and Freedom in "The Scarlet Letter"

The Scaffold as a Place of Humility and Remorse, Unity and Freedom in "The Scarlet Letter"

Length: 648 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne characterizes the scaffold as a place of humility and remorse, as well as one of unity and freedom. Located “beneath the eaves of Boston’s earliest church,” the scaffold was a place of penal acts (51). Hester served part of her punishment on this scaffold in front a Puritan population that often came to watch the conviction of criminals. Although the adulterer was publicly humiliated on the scaffold, Hester was united with her daughter and lover on the footsteps of the sacred place. The scaffold is very significant to many of the relationships between Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth.
The scaffold is first introduced at the beginning of the novel when Hester addresses her punishment for adultery. Although Hester is a criminal, she is beautiful, confident, and independent. She proudly holds her daughter and the embroidered A, both symbols of her wrongdoing, as she approaches the steps of the scaffold. Even though Hester is being publicly humiliated, she is not ashamed, which is continuous throughout her years of punishment. Roger Chillingwort...

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Humility, the Unsung Hero Essay

- Living in a major metropolitan area as I do, I'm often surprised at the sharp contrasts I see between the people here and those in the more relaxed Midwestern community where I grew up. Some of these are positive: a higher level of awareness of and respect for other countries and cultures widespread interest in physical fitness and nutrition more motivation to succeed However, one troubling thing I have noticed is the abject lack of humility in Washington, DC, and the rather egotistical tendencies of the people who live here....   [tags: Humility]

Better Essays
1123 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about The Freedom of the Forest in The Scarlet Letter

- Every human being needs the opportunity to express how he or she truly feels, otherwise, the emotion builds up until they become volatile. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, life centers on a rigid Puritan society which does not allow open self-expression, so the characters have to seek alternate means in order to relieve their personal anguishes and desires. Luckily, Hawthorne provides such a sanctuary in the form of the mysterious forest. The forest is a sanctuary because it allows the freedom to love, the freedom to express emotions, the freedom for sympathy and the freedom to be one’s self....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Better Essays
1454 words (4.2 pages)

The Forest as a Place of Truth and Freedom in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"

- The forest in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, represents an array of personas. Both rumors and scandal surround the forest, causing a biased view of this secluded location within the Puritan community. Yet, Hawthorne designates the forest as a place of truth, independence, and joy to those with secrets. Boston’s Puritan society of the mid 1600’s feared the near-bye forest. Believing that “the black man that haunts the forest” (71) and that the witches who do the devil’s work there, the townspeople are warned to stay away the sinful place....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scarlet Letter, ]

Better Essays
761 words (2.2 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Scarlet Letter is a historical fiction story written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne, that takes place almost two centuries prior to when it was written. The story focuses on a woman, named Hester Prynne who had a baby with a man she wasn’t married to. In the Puritan Society in which she lives she violated the laws of her religion and was punished under the town’s rules. For her punishment she was forced to wear a Scarlet Letter A on her chest to represent the act of adultery she committed. This event effects her, and the other characters apart of what she did on emotional and physical levels....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1378 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- From the scaffold representing unity to the scarlet letter frightening away townspeople, there are numerous allegories in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. An allegory, by definition, is a symbolic representation, which has been seen to correspond with the plot of the story. Hawthorne bestowed all of the characters as allegories themselves, from the devil to Adam and Eve. Even more so, the commonality items of the novel represent a deeper meaning that when evoked to the reader, the allegory can pose a profound image of idealism not found from reading the text itself....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Lighting Of A Unity Candle

- The lighting of a unity candle follows a tradition formally introduced by the church, yet occurs throughout many religious and non-religious wedding ceremonies. It sees the bride and groom have their own taper candles then together they light a pillar candle, symbolising the coming together of two families, becoming one. At the beginning of the ceremony order, often the mothers of the bride and groom light the taper candles representing their family, traditions and wisdom whilst showing acceptance to the individuality of the bride and groom....   [tags: Wedding, Marriage, Candle, Unity candle]

Better Essays
893 words (2.6 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- William Shakespeare once said, “One touch of nature, makes the whole world kin.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter, the Forest is a place of societal freedom while as the Town serves as a place of judgement and false virtue. Some might say that the Scaffold would prove to be a suitable contrast to the Forest, however, the Town provides a more direct contrast to the Forest; truth is welcomed in the natural Forest and punished in the unnatural Town. That opinion is evident throughout the novel as the different themes of secrets destroying their keeper, nature being more forgiving than man, and the hypocrisy of the Puritan society clearly exemplify it....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Shame]

Better Essays
1645 words (4.7 pages)

Christian Images of Power and Humility in Rudolf Seño’s Superman and the Child

- In the context of 21st century, Christianity is at its peak of dominance as one of the world’s religion. The upsurging character of growth which pertains to man’s search for his ideal self and God are very intriguing issues since time immemorial up to our present age. This paper presents the paths of how to blend the extremes of power and humility into well-stroked proportions in the context of Christianity. Closing the gap between the peak of greatness and the chasm of humility becomes the main theme in understanding man’s mundane pilgrimage....   [tags: Christianity, power, humility, values, self, knowl]

Better Essays
2550 words (7.3 pages)

Strength In Unity Essay

- John Steinbeck wrote one of the great books titled The Grapes of Wrath and changed part of American history. In the novel, he creates a complex array of ideas, characters, and plot. One of the complex ideas Steinbeck creates comprises of the theme of unity between characters. This unity tests the members of the story to bring out their potential and show there exists strength and survival within the organization. Steinbeck demonstrates the theme of unity by the individual parts -- leaders, laws, and places of organization -- in the microcosm chapter seventeen while reflecting the theme into the Joad family chapters....   [tags: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath]

Better Essays
1382 words (3.9 pages)

Justice at the Scaffold in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

- Justice at the Scaffold in The Scarlet Letter         Richard Harter Fogle acknowledges the aspect of the superhuman as "the sphere of absolute insight, justice, and mercy: few of Hawthorne's tales and romances can be adequately considered without taking it into account" ("Realms of Being and Dramatic Irony" 309). This superhuman aspect surfaces through Divine Justice in The Scarlet Letter. On the other hand, the merely human application of justice emerges through the Puritan laws, or Earthly Justice....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Better Essays
1226 words (3.5 pages)