Summative Essay

1019 words - 5 pages

Adultery, in almost any society is viewed in a negative manner that results in specific penalties in relation to the culture in which it is committed. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the punishments in accordance with adultery in a Puritan Society are portrayed in a less-accurate, fictional context. However, if the character of Hester Prynne, or any puritan woman, was placed in Iran, her consequences for the sin would differ. In both a 17th century Puritan society in Massachusetts and in Iran, the act of adultery has varied, yet firm consequences meant to penalize women who commit the offense.
In 17th century Massachusetts, adultery was viewed as a sinful act that was reprimanded differently in real life and in The Scarlet Letter. In a Puritan Society, Adultery was viewed as an act disobeying God. It was an act punishable by public whipping, extensive fines, jail time, and in certain cases, the husband could file for divorce, which would result in financial and custody losses for the woman (Clark 1). However, in The Scarlet Letter, Hester suffered a much different punishment. She endured 9 months of jail time, but instead of being fined or whipped, she was coerced into public humiliation. She was branded by the letter “A”, meaning adultery, which was adorned to the breast of her clothing. This letter caused the public to ostracize her, which made her reflect on the sin she committed and the consequences she had to face at all times. The “A” brought about a lot of public scorn, which is demonstrated when it is said, “Meagre, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders at the scaffold. On the other hand, a penalty which, in our days, would infer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule, might then be invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself” (Hawthorne 628). In other words, this form of punishment, although easier than the consequences in reality, was considered just as bad or even worse; a punishment equating with death itself. In any Puritan Society, Adultery was condemned, yet the consequences were altered slightly in The Scarlet Letter.
In Iran, the penalizations in regards to adultery are exceedingly severe, and sometimes fatal due to the most widely used form of punishment, stoning. Islamic cultures, such as that in Iran, view Adultery as a horrible sin that deserves harsh consequences. According to the Islamic criminal code of Iran, Adultery is punishable in three ways. The first being execution. This is sentenced when adultery is in the form of incest, rape, or when a non-Muslim and a Muslim have intercourse (Mostafaei 1). The second form of punishment is stoning, the act of throwing rocks at an individual until they are executed. Recently, “Iran has reportedly amended its internationally condemned law on stoning convicted adulterers to death to allow judges to impose a different form of execution” (AFP 1). In short, as a result of this...

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