Adultery was a sin and not taken lightly. Hester was sentenced to hours of public shame and forced to wear the letter A on her chest to represent her sin. Many town members found this too light of a punishment. Outside the jail, where Hester was being kept, a group of women began talking about Hester’s crime. One woman, talking
Everyone can be forgiven for their mistakes, despite the views of those surrounding them. The Puritans believe in harsh penalties for committing sins because God’s punishment would be worse than any earthly trial. When Hester Prynne gets caught committing adultery and premarital sex, her punishment is extremely severe. She is thrown in prison, forced to wear a large letter A on her chest for the rest of her life, forced to raise her daughter Pearl and is publically humiliated upon a scaffold. Despite this lifelong punishment, many of the townspeople feel that Hester got off too easy; as the written punishment for adultery is death.
thus holding it up to the public gaze"(Hawthorne 53). The scaffold was used as a symbol to represent how Puritans dealt with law and punishment to the offenders of the law. The leaders of the society such as the governor, minister and others were on the scaffold trying to get Hester to acknowledge the name of the father of her child and kept telling her if she did she would be free from the scarlet letter she now wore through her confession. Being on the scaffold was the Puritan way of punishing the criminal. The people that stood before Hester wanted to shame her for her sin and made her a public spectacle.
By choosing to embrace her actions, Hester flourishes and presents the scarlet letter with a new meaning. Hester has no way of hiding her sins like Dimmesdale since she is pregnant. Hester’s punishment was to stand for three hours on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life. Initially, the people of the Boston were cold and scorned Hester for her sins. One resident eventually attempts to end the mocking of Hester, shouting “’[n]ot
He tells her that he will see her in the afterlife and she leaves. Although, many girls lied about being affected by witchcraft Abigail was the worst of them all. She manipulated her new found power and used it as a tool in seeking revenge but she didn’t realize that her beloved would suffer from her actions. John was told that he would be pardoned if he ‘confesses’ and agrees to do so.
Reality behind Public Humiliation In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, the character Hester Prynne is publically shamed for committing adultery. Hester is forced to stand upon a podium and is taunted and shunned by her fellow townspeople. Along with the exposure, she has to visibly wear the letter “A” attached to her chest for the rest of her life. In today’s society, public humiliation is still used occasionally as a possible form of punishment for the convicted.
Throughout the story, it is clear that he wants to confess his sin, when he is yelling at the scaffold at night but he’s too weak to do it publicly. The interactions between Hester and Dimmesdale show her hold over him because she has been publicly condemned for a sin that they had committed together. His inability to reveal and accept the truth makes him extremely weak. When Dimmesdale decides to reveal the truth during his Election Day speech, he passes away because he had waited too
Punishment of Puritans for their sins occurred harshly and frequently, and these punishments ranged from fines, branding, and severe whippings to hanging and death. Many of these penalties involved public humiliation of some kind, which made it extremely difficult for townspeople to accept by their peers after they had sinned. Because the Puritans believed religion was immensely important, the community was often reluctant to allow citizens that exhibited sinful behavior to achieve redemption (Cox). However, in the case of Hester Prynne, an adulterer in Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter, the townspeople eagerly made amends with her. This novel narrates the life of Hester Prynne, who committed adultery and courageously accepted the repercussions
She receives three punishments from the townspeople, who claim they will free her from her sin. The community orders Hester to go to jail, wear a scarlet letter on her chest, and stand on the town scaffold for hours. Hester wears her scarlet letter proudly on her chest, and endures much suffering because of her public ridicule. Hester is “kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement” after she was released from prison, but she chooses to stay (Hawthorne 71). Later, Hester’s child, Pearl, symbolizes the Puritan view of Hester.
To overcome Social Incrimination The Scarlet Letter encaptured people because of the perception of religion’s and society’s role in justice. As in most literature from the 19th century, religion plays a large part in The Scarlet Letter, because Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth are themselves affected by the hand of religion. Society shuns Hester, the scorned woman forced to wear the scarlet letter and placed on a scaffold with her sin-bred child Pearl, publicly humiliated for her act of adultery. The sins committed throughout The Scarlet Letter represent more than acts against God: each of the characters symbolize a sin, their actions and dialogue bringing this symbolism to light. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's,
What is justice to you? Well justice is different for everyone because we have all had different life experiences. In the scarlet letter, by nathaniel hawthorne, a woman named hester prim is punished for having a chilled out for welock. As her punishment she is forced to wear a scarlet A upon her clothing, with this mark she will become out cast and ridiculed by the town. Hester accepts the letter at first because it is the regulated punishment decided by the society and what they see as a just punishment.
Throughout the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is publicly insulted and shamed as a result of her punishment for breaking the Puritan faith by committing adultery. She is then forced into standing in front of the whole town for hours as the crowd is breaking her down with hateful and abusive language. After, she had been released, "the scene was not without a mixture of awe, such as much always invest the spectacle of guilt and shame of a fellow creature" (Hawthorne 63). They almost had satisfaction in her punishment, having the perception that they had cleansed the town, and therefore only leaving a pure society. The society had thought that if they treated her so horribly no individual would attempt in committing acts that
The Salem Witch Trials have been going on for far too long, and they must come to an end soon. Every day I hear about people who are being imprisoned because of accusations of witchcraft. You are sentencing these people to die for their crimes, leaving behind their families and friends. This is a crime itself, and it is more of a crime than witchcraft. Many of the people you have imprisoned, have been imprisoned without any proof that they committed witchcraft, and this is unfair to the accused, and to their families.
“The most painful moral struggles are not those between good and evil, but between the good and the lesser good.” - Barbara Grizzuti Harrison. “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” and The Scarlet Letter both contain ordinary characters that demonstrate the inborn moral ambiguity in everyone. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is branded a criminal for her sins.
Sin in puritan times was not taken lightly. Ignominy was how sinners were punished, and in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the protagonist Hester Prynne was no exception. She was publicly shamed, and forced to wear the letter “A” on her chest. Everything that was meant to be ugly in Hester’s life, turned into something beautiful.