The Significance of the Scaffold Scenes in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

The Significance of the Scaffold Scenes in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Setting is the time and location in which the story takes place. The scaffold is an important setting in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The scaffold scenes are the most dramatic and foreshadowing and help highlight the most important events of the novel. This is evident in the beginning, middle and conclusion of the book. The main characters are present in these scenes and the main symbol, the scarlet letter.

In the first scaffold scene, Hester Prynne stands at the scaffold holding her infant daughter pearl for public humiliation for her crime. She bears a scarlet “A” which stands for adultery on her chest. Reverend Wilson commends Hester to give the name of her lover. She is given the chance to “take the scarlet letter off [her] breast” (64). She refuses. Then Arthur Dimmesdale is told to implore her to confess who she had the affair with. “So powerful seemed the ministers appeal that the people could not believe but that Hester Prynne would speak out the guilty name” ( ) Arthur gives a powerful speech that shows his need to confess. This scene opens t...

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