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The Scarlet Letter Essay

1009 words - 5 pages

The symbol of the scaffold evolves in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet letter is build around the symbolic scaffold. The main characters transform the scaffold from the exposition to resolution. Next the traits of the scaffold itself deteriorate throughout the novel. Finally, the scaffold is applied symbolically throughout Hawthorne’s novel.
The scaffold transforms throughout the book because they are there for different reasons. In the beginning Hester Prynne is there to be punished for her sin. Her sin was that she commits adultery and cheats on her husband. She cheats on Chillingworth with Dimmesdale. She ends up getting pregnant and she has a baby girl and she names her Pearl. Because she is beautiful and because she costs a great price. She must stand on the scaffold in front of the town to reveal her sin. Its to humiliate her for what she has done. The second scene is when Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale are all standing together and being together. It’s the first time that Dimmesdale has claimed them in public. Before this Pearl felt like he wouldn’t claim and that he was ashamed to have anything to do with her. So when they all stand up there together she feels like it’s the right way. Dimmesdale also feels like its right thing to do. She shows her approval to him by giving him a kiss. The third is when Chillingworth gets up on the scaffold and shows his burning sin under his clothes and it is to helps him because he's been holding his sin away from everyone. He gets up there and lets out a yell but most people do not come because they think it is the cry of a witch.
The differences in descriptions would be that in the first scene it is used to punish Hester. Its described as a place of shame and embarrassment. Its also a place of judgement of Hester Prynne by the townspeople. “Had a roar of laughter burst from the multitude - each man, each woman, each little shrill-voiced child, contributing their individual parts - Hester Prynne might have repaid them all with a bitter and disdainful smile. But under the leaden infliction which it was her doom to endure she felt, at moments, as if she must needs shriek out with the full power of her lungs and cast herself from the scaffold down upon the ground, or else go mad at once. (55)” Then the next scene it is not to punish her but to reveal the truth about Dimmesdale. Its when he stand up with Hester and Pearl. It reveals the truth about him being Pearls father and Hester’s lover. The third scene can show what kind of damage can be done to a man. Chillingworth had committed a sin long ago but kept it a secret from everyone. It burned his chest as he said and tore him apart as a man.
Throughout the book the scaffold hurts some more than others. At...

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