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This Is An Analysis Of The Meaning And Significance Of The First Two Scaffold Scenes In The Scarlet Letter.

959 words - 4 pages

In chapter 12, the second of three scaffold scenes occurs. The chapter is very important to the Dimmesdale-Hester storyline because of a significant amount of foreshadowing. The scaffold scenes provide deep insight to Dimmesdale's state of mind. Dimmesdale is anxious, worried, and confused throughout the second half of the book. He is worried that townspeople will find out he is Pearl's father and perhaps lose faith in the church, but at the same time he seems anxious to get it out in the open. Dimmesdale really seems confused because he gets up on the scaffold late at night and starts screaming to bring in the town but once they get there he stops his plans to tell them his secret. All of his thoughts about the benefits and pitfalls of telling people seem to be confusing him. The amount of effectiveness of him being on the scaffold doesn't appear to be very large because he gets off without telling the town.One minor similarity between the scenes is that the whole town is watching but in different ways. Another similarity is that the season that the scenes takes place is about the same. At the beginning of chapter 2, the narrator says, ."..on the summer morning when our story begins its course..." (47-48), and the second scaffold scene takes place in early May. A reference to Dimmesdale's character also occurs in both scaffold scenes. In both scenes it seems as if Dimmesdale wants to say that he's the father of Pearl but he is too much of a coward to do it in public. Even though he is a coward, it has a lot to do with Chillingworth. Once Chillingworth appears in the second scaffold scene, Dimmesdale is scared and is muted by his presence. Dimmesdale asks, ""Who is that man, Hester?" gasped Mr. Dimmesdale, overcome with terror." (137).One of the differences between the scaffold scenes is that in the first one, all the authorities are standing above the scaffold when the narrator brings us to the scaffold. In the second scaffold scene, Reverend Dimmesdale is standing on the scaffold in early morning screaming and everyone appears bit by bit. Also, Dimmesdale is standing on the scaffold where Hester stood when the town arrives to the shriek. In the first scaffold scene, all the authorities and towns people are watching and waiting when Hester and Pearl arrive. Also, the times of day that the scenes occur in are different. In the first scene the narrator says that it is a summer morning and in the second scaffold scene the narrator comes right out and says, "It was an obscure night of early May." (129).The significance of the chapter is that it portrays that Dimmesdale is showing signs of weakness dealing with the fact that he is Pearl's father and isn't helping Hester in...

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