Color Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

908 Words4 Pages
There is often a contrast in the colors of theatrical masks depending upon the mood and role of the character wearing it. Light colors are often worn by the protagonist or “good guy” in the scene. Darker colors are often reserved for an antagonist or villain. In older plays white masks were worn to convey a sense of happiness while, black masks often portrayed anger or gloom. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the same color scheme to project evil and goodwill throughout The Scarlet Letter. Conflict arises in seventeenth-century Boston when a young women, the wife of an unforgiving husband, has an affair with a faint-hearted man. Throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter light Vs. dark is demonstrated through a prison, the home of the…show more content…
Hester Prynne is the beautiful protagonist; she is married to Roger Chillingworth, an elderly scholar. Hester sailed to the colonies while Chillingworth was stayed in England to continue studying. While living alone, Hester had an affair with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and as a result Pearl was born. The entire colony knows of the sin that Hester committed but do not know that Dimmesdale is involved. Hester is publicly humiliated alone on the scaffold as punishment and is treated very poorly. She is also forced to wear an embroidered “A” on her bosom which stands for adultery. The sin is disapproved and the whole colony shuns Hester and Pearl. To prevent drawing even more attention to themselves, they move to a cabin on the outskirts of the town. “It was only the darkened house that could contain her. When sunshine came again, she was not there,” (Hawthorne 145) the sun only shone while hester was not there, it was dark and gloomy in here presence. The contrasts between the sunlight and the shade depicts the importance of light vs. dark. Sunlight never shines on the house when Hester is there because of the sin she has committed. The sun is used as symbolism for purity in a character. Hester isn't pure because of her scarlet letter and her sin, therefore she is not seen in the sun. The home of the “Black man” depicts the dark, lawlessness of
Open Document