"The Scarlet Letter" of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale Essay

"The Scarlet Letter" of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale Essay

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The Scarlet Letter is a classic novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne which entangles the lives of two characters Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale together through an unpardonable sin-adultery. With two different lifestyles, this act of adultery affects each of them differently. Hester is an average female citizen who is married to a Roger Chillingworth from Europe while Dimmesdale is a Puritan minister from England (61). Along the course of time after the act of adultery had happened, Hester could not hide the fact that she was bearing a child that was not of her husband, but from another man. She never reveals that this man is in fact Arthur Dimmesdale, and so only she receives the punishment of prison. Although it is Hester who receives the condemnation and punishment from the townspeople and officials, Dimmesdale is also punished by his conscience as he lives his life with the secret burden hanging between him and Hester.
Chapter 5 of the book, “Hester at Her Needle” gives Hester’s account on her days after she is released from prison. It is a very sunny day which is usually supposed to represent a happy setting with a bright future ahead. However Hester automatically thinks that the sunlight is specifically there to reveal the scarlet letter that is sewn onto the chest of her dress. The steps that she takes out of the prison represent the steps that she will take to her new life that is full of loneliness and scorn. Her future is very grim-being cut off from the townspeople as well as from a normal life. Hawthorne goes on to describe here that “To-morrow would bring its own trial with it; so would the next day, and so would the next; each its own trial, and yet the very same that was now so unutterably grievous to be born...


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...scourse” (77). Dimmesdale as well, was greatly affected by the environment and by what was going on around him. Dimmesdale was accepted by society, but because he was greatly praised for being a “miracle of holiness” (125) he became greatly burdened and guilty. He was in a dilemma of wanting to tell all the townspeople about what he had done, yet he could not due to the fear that was inside of him. This pushed him to punishments in which he inflicted upon himself and always thinking about the incident pushed him to his limits mentally-seeing visions of his dead parents and Hester as they point a condemning finger at him along with judgmental looks in their eyes (127).

Works Cited
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Penguin, 1986.

Baym, Nina. Introduction. The Scarlet Letter. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Penguin,
1986. vii-xxix.


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