Hester Prynne's Penry In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1563 Words 7 Pages
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne takes place in the mid-seventeenth century in a Puritan community which used to be known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The main character, Hester Prynne committed adultery by having a child through an affair and struggled throughout the story because of how her society is treating her. The author, Nathaniel seems to have an interest in his Puritan ancestors, this story shows his knowledge of their beliefs, values and how things were like during the time period of Puritan society. His portrayal of the characters, plot, and themes shows his concern for those who faced harsh punishments because of rigid and oppressive rules. As a woman, Hester was restricted from her freedom and rights to live the way …show more content…
Knowing well her part, she ascended a flight of wooden steps, and was thus displayed to the surrounding multitude, at about the height of a man’s shoulders above the street.” (CH 2 pg.46) After being released from jail as punishment for adultery, Hester was sentenced to three hours on the scaffold. This was a site of public humiliation, Hester was displayed above for everyone to see and judge for the crime she had committed. In most cases, a person’s head was held by the pillory device that kept it steady for everyone to gaze at. This prevented a person from hiding their face in shame, which can be extremely frustrating and hurtful. Instead, Hester was forced to stand for a period of time in front of a large crowd without her head being still, which is a very terrible thing to go through as well. The punishments she had kept on facing seems out of proportion to having an affair in a modern society, but was considered to be morally right back then during the Puritan society. She was also required to wear a scarlet "A" on her chest for a lifetime when she is in front of the townspeople in order to shame her and constantly remind her of her

Related Documents