Hester Prynne Symbolism In Scarlet Letter

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The book The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne has symbolism all throughout it. People and objects are symbolic of events and thoughts. Throughout the book, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Hester, Pearl, and Arthur Dimmesdale to signify philosophies that are evident during this time period. Hester Prynne, through the eyes of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against their ways, committing adultery. For this sin, she must wear a symbol of shame for the rest of her life. She is a beautiful, young woman who has sinned, but is forgiven. Hawthorne portrays Hester as "divine maternity" and she can do no wrong. Not only Hester, but also the physical scarlet letter, a sign of shame, is shown as a beautiful, gold and colorful piece which…show more content…
The reader more evidently notices that Hawthorne carefully, and sometimes not subtly at all, places Pearl above the rest. She wears colorful clothes, which can be seen as a symbol of the scarlet letter, is extremely smart, pretty, and nice. He also shows her intelligence and free thought. One of Pearl's favorite activities is playing with flowers and trees. "And she was gentler here [the forest] than in the grassy- margined streets of the settlement, or in her mother's cottage. The flowers appeared to know it"(194) Pearl fit in with natural things. Also, Pearl is always happy, which is definitely a negative to the Puritans because they probably believe she should be miserable. The council tests Pearl to see if Hester is teaching her correctly and Pearl acts smart to make them think her mother isn’t like it’s a joke. Pearl can be seen as the living embodiment of the scarlet letter. She is not only the proof of adultery but also the way her mother dresses her shows that Hester is not ashamed of her daughter. Also it shows that she is aware of her mistakes but doesn’t want to hide from her…show more content…
He was held above the rest, and this is proven in one of the first scenes of the book. As Hester is above the townspeople on a scaffold, Dimmesdale, Governor Wilson, and others are still above her. But, as the reader soon discovers, Arthur Dimmesdale is his own worst enemy. It is unknown until the end but he is actually the father of Hester’s child. He hates himself and often inflicts physical pain on himself. "He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify, himself" to never forget what he has done (141). To him, it is a bad thing that Hester is shown publicly as a sinner, but people forget that. What is far worse than public shame is his own inner shame that he feels constantly and privately. Knowing what only he and Hester know, the secret eats away at him and drives him close to insanity. Eventually leading to his very public death. Once he confessed his sin to the community, his guilt was gone too. Even after Dimmesdale repented, God still did not like the sin because his has still committed an unforgivable sin. But, once he repented, he felt as though he was separated from that sin. God shows mercy on those who repent, and He showed mercy on Dimmesdale by, in a way, taking away his shame. He took away his shame by taking away his
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