Hester Prynne Selfish

1034 Words 4 Pages
The Scarlet Letter is much more than a simple story told about a woman that had to go through hardships because of a sin (crime) committed. The Scarlet Letter is able to depict a portrait of the early Puritan ages of the “new” land, America during the 1600s. Although, for present day circumstances the punishment and obstacles that Hester faces are irrational and quite silly, during the 1600s, it was ideal and necessary to form the idea of a Christ centered nation and through punishments, like Hester’s, it could be accomplished. Hester makes the decision to be passive aggressive and because of this, she is able to show that she is the boldest character. Hester Prynne is daring yet submissive and an overall good mother to Pearl despite the circumstances …show more content…
While she is on this scaffold, Dimmsdale, the incognito father, demands, “…I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow sufferer!” (488). Hester chooses to remain silent. Being a woman during this period of time meant that she must obey orders given to her from a man (especially a man with authority in the community, such as Dimmsdale). Hester does not follow the customed standard and instead made the daring decision of not revealing that Dimmsdale himself was the fellow sinner and sufferer. Hester could have unveiled the truth and exposed Dimmsdale publically, but she was looking out for the greater good of the people. This is the first secret that Hester preserves—through a bold action, but the second secret that she keeps is through an act of submission. When her husband, Chillingsworth, is seen in the crowd he signals her to remain silent about his arrival. On the same note, he later encounters Hester and commands her to under no circumstances reveal that he was her husband. Hester is now given the duty of maintaining two lives alive. She must protect the identity of Dimmsdale for the sake of not condemning the fellow citizens to hell and the identity of Chillingsworth, so that he can remain a respected individual without having the bondage of an adulterous wife. Hester has to carry her own baggage, Dimmsdale’s, Chillingsworth’s and her daughter’s. Her duty can be seen as heroic to a certain extent. How could one woman possibly carry so much oppression and still live? Hester is quick to listen and slow to speak. She knows when to take a daring action and when to succumb to a command. In the 1600s it was inadequate for a woman to make decisions like the ones that Hester decided to take, but through them, the true strength of her character is shown. The last sentence of chapter eight states,

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