The Demise Of Hester And Dimmesdale

863 words - 4 pages

The choices that people are bound to make are not only going to affect themselves, but also could severely affect the people who are close to them. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, exhibits the effects of choices that people make, and how they can also affect the ones around you. Hester Prynne, the protagonist of, The Scarlet Letter, is to be considered by many a tragic hero; however, Hester herself is guilty of causing her own downfall, as well as Arthur Dimmesdale’s.
Hester’s life was forever changed after the choice she makes to break one of the fundamental laws of Puritan society. At this time, there was no separation of church and state in the early Puritan society, breaking the law of God was also breaking the law of the state as well. The law is stated in Exodus 20:14,"Thou shalt not commit adultery”, is the fundamental law that Hester violates. The punishment as stated in Leviticus 20:10, “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death”, was not instituted on due to the fact that Hester had through her adulterous affair had become pregnant. Her punishment was therefore changed to a scarlet letter “A” that she must wear for the rest of her life and also stand upon a scaffold in front of the town for three hours a day. This is the beginning of Hester’s downfall. Instead of being put to death, she must live her life in shame and raise a child that was conceived through a sinful relationship. On the first day of her punishment, she began a life of secrecy by not divulging the name of the father to anyone, not even to the father himself. “Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life.” Dimmesdale quotes as one of many feeble attempts to get Hester to divulge the name of the adulterer. Even to Hester’s husband, who was thought to be missing, is not privy to the knowledge of who the father is. The life of secrecy that Hester endures only speeds up her demise, especially when the time comes where Pearl, Hester’s illegitimate daughter, begins asking questions about the scarlet letter. Pearl, ironically, grows fond of the scarlet letter and begins seeing the letter and her mother as one. After Hester makes the...

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