The Struggles And Strength Of Hester Prynne

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The Struggles and Strength of Hester Prynne
In the mid 17th century, Puritans exercised control over the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the US, where they practiced their strict religious beliefs. To the Puritans, a good and admirable person followed the Bible exactly, and never sinned or made any big mistakes. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne writes about Hester Prynne, a woman who committed the sin of adultery, but still constantly attempts to redeem herself and atone for her sin. Even with a constant stigma of impurity following her and classifying her as a mere sinner, Hester keeps on fighting to follow the word of God despite of her mistakes. Hester emerges as an admirable and heroic character through her humanistic qualities, her
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Hester’s human characteristics of being able to make mistakes, and her struggles with morality make the reader empathetic to her character. Hester, having made the mistake of adultery, decides not to reveal Dimmesdale’s identity due to her love for him. Hester doesn’t know if this is the right decision, but her silence causes Dimmesdale to exclaim, “wondrous strength and generosity of a woman’s heart! She will not speak!” (64). Hester had sinned with an unknown person in town, which she fully admits to, but Hester decides to further increase her punishment in order to protect her love, Dimmesdale. As the beloved reverend of the town, if Dimmesdale’s sin were to be exposed his reputation would be ruined, and he would have to face the shame and isolation from the townspeople. Hester questions this decision later on when Dimmesdale suffers more than she does, but she initially just wants to protect him and his image, showing Hester’s great loyalty towards her emotions. This imperfection makes Hester easy to empathize with. She admits to her mistake and tries to protect the one she loves, in what could be another mistake. Everyone struggles with right and wrong at some point, and Hester …show more content…
As Hester first appears wearing the scarlet letter, one spectator remarks “did ever a woman, before this brazen hussy, contrive such a way of showing [the letter]”(51). Hester had embroidered the scarlet letter so fancily that she clearly does not try to hide her sin. Instead, Hester defiantly shows off her sin, never backing down from admitting her mistake. When others try to convince Hester to reveal the identity of the other adulterer, there a possibility that Hester wouldn’t have to wear the scarlet letter, but Hester replies, “It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might his agony, as well as mine!”(64). Hester realizes that even if the physical scarlet letter is removed, her stigma of sin is too deeply branded that she cannot escape her crime, but more importantly, Hester takes on her agony of the letter, as well as part of Dimmesdale’s agony. Hester faces up to the hardships that she will have to go through as punishment for her crime and accepts them wholeheartedly. Hester never lets the weight of her sin out of her mind, so that when she looks into a mirror, “the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance… she seemed absolutely hidden behind it” (97). All Hester can see when she sees herself is her great fault of adultery, that

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