The Purpose Of The Scaffold In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

753 words - 4 pages

“If thou feelst it will relieve thy suffering, speak out the name of thy fellow sinner. Be not silent because thou wouldst protect him.” (Hawthorne 21). This was said by Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, one of the main characters of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel, The Scarlet Letter. He says this to his secret lover, Hester, as she stands on the scaffold in front of the entire Puritan community that the story takes place in. She is standing there with her three-month old child, Pearl, as a part of her punishment for her sin of committing adultery. The purpose of the scaffold in this novel is to represent the shame and torture that Hester and Dimmesdale each handle alone and to show how ...view middle of the document...

Hawthorne has him do this to show that Hester is not the only one suffering in silence and to give some insight on Dimmesdale’s feelings. Dimmesdale cannot reveal himself as Pearl’s father because his reputation as a minister would be ruined.
The Puritans were very judgmental and hypocritical people. They lived by the bible. They believed that anything going against the bible in any way was wrong. Their government and laws revolved around the bible. Committing any kind of sin was illegal. Because Hester had committed a sin, by law she was to be hung publicly. However, because she was so young and the father of her child was unknown, they decided that the death penalty was unnecessary (Hawthorne 14). However, her punishment of public humiliation came to show just how hypocritical the Puritans were. The bible says to love everyone, to not judge, and to be forgiving. That is the exact opposite of what the Puritans did to her. They would mock her and tease her while she served her punishment. They were unforgiving of her actions even though she continued to help the community by providing clothing for the poor, who gave nothing...

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