The scarlet letter is one of the most prominent symbols in the novel. The scarlet letter which rests upon Hester’s breast is seen by the Puritans to bring ignominy because of Puritan faith. Puritan faith involves harsh punishment from those who are sinners because they are not in align with god. An example of this is when there are gossips about Hester before her entrance in chapter 2.
“A blessing …show more content…
The “Black Man” is a prominent symbol that comes between the Puritans many times. The “Black Man” is a symbol of darkness and Satan to the reader. Many times throughout the novel certain characters are referred to as the “black man.” In chapter 10, Pearl describes the Robert Chillingworth as the black man and how her mother Hester should be careful for him. She also mentions how Chillingworth has caught Dimmesdale.
“Come away, or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the minister already. Come away, mother, or he will catch you. But he cannot catch little Pearl!" (Hawthorne 126)
The narrator does not use light and darkness to symbolize good and evil. Instead the narrator uses the light and darkness to symbolize the difference between what is shown to the public and what is hidden. In chapter 12, the narrator uses darkness to hide Dimmesdale on the scaffold. Dimmesdale shouts out but no one can hear in the midst of the night.
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In chapter 3, the Puritan gossipers try to force Hester to reveal the name of the sinner as she is being humiliated on the scaffold.
“Proceeding from the crowd about the scaffold, “Speak; and give your child a father!”(Hawthorne 65)
The narrator in the novel however uses the scaffold to symbolize the parts of the story. Each scaffold scene represents Dimmesdale and his development throughout the novel. In the first scaffold scene it is shown to be that Dimmesdale is a strong leader and is loved by everyone. In the quote it talks about how Dimmesdale’s voice makes
“So powerful seemed the minister’s appeal, that the people could not believe but that Hester Prynne would speak out the guilty name.”(Hawthorne 60)
Then in the second scaffold scene it symbolizes the second stage of Dimmesdale in which Dimmesdale is trying to face his sins but he cannot confess to the public that he is a sinner. The
Shida 3 narrator describes how Dimmesdale is going insane, as he feels the scarlet letter being burned into him.
“...while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart.” (Hawthorne