Hester Prynne Character Analysis

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne’s character is revealed through all of the punishments and hardships that are bestowed upon her. Hester Prynne commits the sin of adultery, however, the townspeople in the Puritan community discovers her sin. In her community, Hester’s actions are seen as a sin because she had a husband. Hester’s husband had been gone for several years, learning the art of alchemy and other medicinal properties. During this time, Hester believed her husband had died and ultimately that is what leads Hester to commit the sin of adultery and having a child with another man. Hester wanted nothing but to to move on with her life, just like anyone else would, and so she does. Because the community believed what she had done was wrong, they chose to mark Hester Prynne with the scarlet “A” upon her chest. If not for Hester’s strength, humbleness, and kindness, Hester could have been easily broken by her community.

Hester is a character of strength. Hawthorne reveals Hester’s strength in character through constant acts of strength. After the discovery of Hester’s sin of adultery, Hester is punished by being taken “out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself”, (Hawthorne, 51), by marking Hester with the Scarlet letter “A” upon her attire. The scarlet “A” is meant to label her as an “Adulterer”. The effect this letter had was significant. After being labeled as an adulterer and publicly humiliated,

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