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Hester Prynne: Victim Or Heroine? Essay

1205 words - 5 pages

Literature is very interesting when there is a change in the protagonist. They can start out bad but turn out good in the end. Being the protagonist of a novel and changing your ways can affect the story and give it a great plot twist. There is a story in literature that contains a person that made a bad decision. A victim of sin, Hester Prynne, emerges as a determined, loving, and strong heroine, living her own life in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Hester Prynne came from Amsterdam to Boston two years ago. She came from a poor family. She is married to a misshapen scholar and physician who is much older than she. He has sent her alone to New England with the plan of following her at some later date. Since Hester has not heard from her beloved husband in a long time, she believes he has been lost at sea.
Hester is a youthful, beautiful, proud woman who has committed an awful sin and a scandal that changes her life in a major way. She commits adultery with a man known as Arthur Dimmesdale, leader of the local Puritan church and Hester’s minister. The adultery committed results in a baby girl named Pearl. This child she clutches to her chest is the proof of her sin. This behavior is unacceptable. Hester is sent to prison and then punished. Hester is the only one who gets punished for this horrendous act, because no one knows who the man is that Hester has this scandalous affair with. Hester’s sin is confessed, and she lives with two constant reminders of that sin: the scarlet letter itself, and Pearl, the child conceived with Dimmesdale. Her punishment is that she must stand upon a scaffold receiving public humiliation for several hours each day, wearing the scarlet letter “A” on her chest, representing adultery. She must also hold her baby girl, while every calls her mean names and laughs at her. She does not let people take her down though. She acts with dignity and integrity. She wears the letter with pride, knowing what she did was wrong, but acting as if people were not irritating her by attacking her verbally. She shows a positive attitude and gains certain people’s respect.
As Hester stands upon the scaffold, she notices two people in the crowd. The first is Arthur Dimmesdale and the second is Roger Chillingworth, her misshapen husband. Roger realizes Hester is being publicly shamed for committing adultery. He is angry and wants the man responsible for the act to be punished along with Hester. Hester refuses to disclose the name of the man who has committed adultery with her, so in addition, the Puritans commit a sin by allowing Hester to take full blame for what is obviously a sin that can only be committed by two people. Hester is asked questions about the father's identity, and she again refuses to divulge the name. This shows Hester as a very strong person, not willing to give in. Angered by Hester's opposition, her husband warns her never to utter the truth about who he really is. Hester...

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