Pre-AP: 1st Semester Essay Exam
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses intricate themes to depict the qualifications of both the byronic and tragic hero through the main character, Hester Prynne. Traits of the byronic hero that’s evident in the novel is independence and loneliness. A trait that qualifies for a tragic hero is Hester wanting to maintain her rightful social status as an adulterer even after the people of the town forgives her for her sin. Hawthorne gave Hester these qualities to advance the novel and develop themes for the novel.
Hesters independence seems to evolve throughout the novel and also qualifies for one of the traits of the byronic hero. In the beginning of the novel, Hesters first appearance occurs when she stands proudly on the scaffold as the crowd stares at her with repugnance and awe. An excerpt from the novel is, “all the towns-people assembled and levelling their stern regards at Hester Prynne,—yes, at herself,—who stood on the scaffold of the pillory, an infant on her arm, and the letter A, in scarlet, fantastically embroidered with gold-thread, upon her bosom!”(121). Although the crowd observes Hester mercilessly, this doesn’t seem to bother her whatsoever. Hesters audacious personality even went as far as to beautifully embroider her scarlet ‘A’ which purpose served for displaying her sin for all to see. In this period of time, the people of the town wore more dull clothing. Making Hester wear such a bright red letter across her bosom made her stand out a great deal. This makes it even more shocking that she embroiders the letter in a bright gold color. Now the letter that symbolizes sin will attract even more attention. Hester embroidering the scarlet letter signifies her independence from her Puritan community.
Hawthorne also accentuates the themes of isolation. This adds to the overall gloomy atmosphere of the work. Hester, being an...