Hester Prynne: The Puritan Justice System

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The Scarlet Letter is focalized on the consequences of adultery for a female in Puritan society. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is punished for adultery that resulted in her daughter Pearl. Hawthorne describes the emotional impact of the punishment and how the Puritan society treats Hester afterwards. Hester Prynne is forced to stand on a scaffold in public and wear the letter “A” on her chest as a reminder of her sin. As seen in her punishment, the Puritan justice system is vastly unique from today’s modern justice system. Hawthorne’s depiction of Hester Prynne’s punishment for adultery was accurately portrayed for the colonial time period and the trials of the justice system. As a result of the corruption of the Church of England, a new…show more content…
As a result of her affair, she becomes pregnant and has a beautiful daughter named Pearl. For her punishment, she must stand on the scaffold in front of lots of people holding her child. She is forced to wear a red “A” on her chest as a reminder to the community and herself of her adultery. In comparison to the other cases during the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Hawthorne describes her treatment and punishment as slightly less severe. Although Hester’s punishment is embarrassing and terrible, people who committed adultery were given harsher punishments typically. Many people during this time had letters branded on them in remembrance of their sin. “A” for adultery and “T” for thief are just a couple of examples of the branded letters. Women of the colonial time period were sometimes given a longer jail time or even a death sentence for the sin of adultery. Humiliation and degradation are just the beginning of the feelings from these…show more content…
As Hester develops as a character, the impact of the humiliation she experiences as a punishment is astonishing in comparison today’s judicial system. As compared to the Puritan trials of this time, Hester’s punishment was the less severe of many yet illustrated branding, the scaffold, and isolation she experienced. The Puritan society and judicial system are depicted excellently by Hester, a strong woman who used her life degrading experience and willingly made the best of
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