What Does The Ambush Symbolize In The Scarlet Letter

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Throughout The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many symbols that correlate with the main characters. Symbolism is a major part of this novel and is shown most prominently through the characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Pearl. The rosebush, the prison door, and the scarlet letter are the most important symbols that are dispersed throughout the novel and are within each of the three characters. The rosebush can be seen as the symbol that represents Hester Prynne, and her beauty and light within a dark Puritan society. Similar to the rosebush, “her beauty shone out and made a halo of misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped,” (Hawthorne 47). The rosebush offers a splash of relief to the prisoners that go forth to their doom. In the same way, Hester’s beauty provides a stark difference to the restrictive and harsh Puritan beliefs. As Hester is being publicly shamed by the townspeople, they cannot help but notice her striking appearance, and even the allure of her scarlet letter, though she is a sinner. This shows that the wildness and beauty of both Hester and the rosebush are…show more content…
Dimmesdale is revealed to be Pearl’s father, meaning that he is seen as a sinner along with Hester. However, his sin is kept in secret and remains locked away in his heart. Consequently, the guilt in his heart becomes too much to withstand and he becomes sick. Like the sin in his heart, “the rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the new world,” (Hawthorne 41). Sin is an immoral act that is nearly as old as time, and though the world is always evolving, sin is forever a constant. The antique rust on the prison door is similar to the immortal sin that plagues Dimmesdale’s heart. Dimmesdale stands on the threshold between freedom and the restraints of the Puritan
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