Quartet Behind Teh Scarlet Let Essay

1180 words - 5 pages

The Quartet Behind The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne had many different characters in his novel The Scarlet Letter, but very few of them are actually put to use. In fact, only four of them really count. They are Hester Prynne, Pearl, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. They all have their own meanings. For example, Hester is for love, Dimmesdale is the spirit, and Chillingworth is the mind (Roper 112). Each member of the four has a unique struggle and makes their own input on the outcome of The Scarlet Letter.Hester Prynne was a very important character in the novel. At the opening she is being brought out of Salem's by the town beatle for punishment upon the scaffold. She resents this treatment, and this sets up the conflict between her and the Puritan society (Brodhead 45). She was spared the gripe about the head and neck, yet she and her daughter, Pearl, must endure public humility for the next three hours in the burning June sun (Gordon 26). Her crime was adultery against her husband, known as Roger Chillingworth, who had went out into the world to seek his fortune in medicine. It is really shocking that she could do this, seeing that she lived in the Puritanical village of Salem. In fact, she seems to be a feminist in this aspect, daring to rise up and challenge the laws about women (Crowley 63). After this incident, she was taken back to her prison cell and there she waited until the magistrates decided to release her. At first, she was definitely isolated from society, but there are still traces of intercourse with society (Axelson 77). However, her needlework fascinated many people and was fashionable among the upper ranks of the Puritans (Newberry 5). Yet she feels that she has been taken advantage of by Chillingworth, who makes her keep his identity secret while he searches for the one who sinned with Hester (Axelson 80). Her response to this is one of the determining factors of the end of the story.Pearl, born in the Salem jail, was the daughter of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, a well respected Puritan priest.She is not that important to the outcome of the story, but still, she has many qualities and seems to be the most complex figure in this novel(Abel 204). When she was born, she had no defects, in fact, she was worthy to have been born in Eden (Hawthorne 92). Her name came about not from her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned luster of pearl, but it was because she was her mother's greatest treasure, the one she paid a great price for (Hawthorne 91). In Pearl's early years, she symbolized childhood with its undeveloped human and moral responsibility (Abel 170).Pearl differed from the other children that lived in the Puritan neighborhood. The village children lacked the childlike energy and freedom when they were compared to Pearl (Johnson 62). She was really more in tune with nature than she was with the human community (Abel 195). Her traits included her violent displays of temper,...

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