Understanding the Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter written by: The following emphasize important aspects of the novel.
Next to him is a small man, whom Hester recognizes as her husband, Mr. She doesn't reveal his identity, however, and he lifts a finger to his lips to make sure she keeps quiet. He asks people in the crowd why she is on the scaffold and learns of her crime. He also learns that, because of his own presumed death and his long absence, she has been spared the harshest punishment that is, death for adultery.
Governor Bellingham and several magistrates sit in the balcony over the scaffold. Upon looking up at them, Hester pales, seeing no sympathy in their hearts.
This clergyman wants Hester to speak of her sin in the open, but his colleague, Reverend Dimmesdale, disagrees. In explaining this, the first clergyman puts Dimmesdale on the spot, and the Reverend feels compelled to stand and ask Hester for the name of her lover.
He does this despite the fact that he is the culprit. When Hester refuses to reveal the name of the baby's father, the first clergyman to speak delivers a sermon on the horrors of sin, focusing particularly on that symbolized by the scarlet letter.
Though aware of the crowd's condemnation, Hester glazes over, unmoved by the sermon, and is eventually taken back to prison. Alliteration Hawthorne is fond of alliteration, and he uses it frequently.
One example of this can be found at the end of the chapter, when he writes that Hester "seemed scarcely to sympathize" with Pearl's crying. In response to the clergyman's evidently melodramatic sermon, the Puritans of Boston see the fires of hell in the scarlet letter.
Traditionally, the color red is associated with love, passion, and heat, all of which are linked to sin in this novel. Note that the color red will be used sparingly in this novel, making the scarlet of the letter A all the more vivid. Prynne here identified only as "the stranger" repeats the ominous promise "he will be known" three times.
This emphasizes his determination to discover the identity of Pearl's father. Simile Hawthorne uses many similes in this chapter. One example is found in the way horror washes over Chillingworth's facial features "like a snake gliding softly over them.
In this chapter, Hawthorne introduces two different kinds of fatherhood: When he implores Hester to "give [her] child a father," he means both that she should reveal his name and free him from the binds that prevent him from being a father to Pearl.
Guilt and sin go hand in hand in this novel, and both are symbolized by the scarlet letter sewn onto Hester's clothes. Though Hester claims that the mark can never be removed because it's "too deeply branded," there's some question as to whether or not she feels guilty.
Certainly, she understands the shame of the letter and intends to bear the agony alone, but this could be interpreted as capitulation to necessity rather than guilt.
Reverend Dimmesdale, on the other hand, appears crushed under the weight of his guilt. When he commands Hester to name his name, it's as if he's begging her to free him of his guilt. Traditionally, sin has been associated with filth, abominations, and a general uncleanliness of body and mind.
Thus, any reference to dirt or cleanliness is an indirect way of characterizing someone or something as sinful or sinless.Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter couldn’t be any more obvious than the scarlet letter itself. But while the fact that it’s a symbol is readily apparent, what it symbolizes might not be.
As I mentioned above, the scarlet A symbolized the sin . The Scarlet Letter's first chapter ends with an admonition to "relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow" with "some sweet moral blossom." These opposites are found throughout the novel and often set the tone and define which side of good and evil envelop the characters.
A summary of Themes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. What does the scarlet letter symbolize? What is the significance of Grendel's cave in Beowulf? How did Hawthorne show that Hester Prynne was a strong woman in The Scarlet Letter?
What purpose do the three witches serve at the beginning of Macbeth? What can you tell me about Grendel from Beowulf?
In Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter, the scaffold is a place of both humiliation and reconciliation.
The scaffold appears three times throughout the novel at the beginning, middle, and end. The novels four major characters and the scarlet letter “A” are present in all scaffold scenes.
Some of the symbols in The Scarlet Letter can be hard to keep track of, insomuch that symbols in the novel change as the novel progresses, being always open to interpretation. The following emphasize important aspects of the novel. The Scarlet Letter - Initially affixed as a punishment for adultery, the scarlet letter means different things as the novel progresses.