Hester Prynne as a Heroine Essay

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Hester Prynne as a Heroine Volner 1 What makes a hero? Some may say saving lives, or stopping evil, but in literature, these are not the only requirements for the title of “hero.” It is monstrously debated amongst literary scholars whether or not Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a true heroine or not. She displays heroic qualities, but many believe otherwise. The novel opens with her being publicly humiliated. Her sin was adultery, a transgression that puritans of the 1600's would take to heart. Her husband, Roger Chillingworth, had not been seen for two years, and she slept …show more content…
Also, Hester faces very distinct antagonists in the novel, be it society, her emotions, or another person. Hester can withstand this and use it to her advantage. In the very Volner 3 beginning of the novel, when the magistrates reveal the punishment, one woman exclaims:
“The magistrates are God-fearing gentlemen, but merciful overmuch,—that is a truth, at the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead. Madame Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me...” (Hawthorne 45)
This woman is suggesting they melt the shape of an A into Hester's skin. That is an extremely cruel punishment. Another woman proclaims that “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there no law for it?” (Hawthorne 45) Faced with people like this, Hester must exhibit profound amounts of bravery. Another quality of a hero is loyalty. Hester is one remarkable female, possibly the most loyal female of American literature. She keeps two key secrets as the story unfolds—the identity of her lover and the presence of her husband. Even under the realization that disclosing the name of her secret lover will lessen her punishment, she does not do so. She knows this would destroy him from a professional standpoint, considering he is the superstar

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