The Role Of Punishment In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Patriarchal ideals rule over all morals in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Punishment in the novel affects all of the characters throughout the book. Not only Hester is persecuted in the book, other characters receive punishments as well. These punishments differ between each gender, varying in self-reflection versus public shame. In Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter, the corrupt penal system, created for the benefit of the religious leaders, punishes women in such a way that suffering must be done publicly, yet the men of their society are allowed the opportunity to repent silently.

Punishment in accordance to social class affects the fates of women throughout the novel. In Hester’s case, she is obligated to face charges in front
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Hester is persecuted by the men considered authoritative in the society in which she lives: “The voice which had called her attention was that of the reverend and famous John Wilson, the eldest clergyman of Boston [...] There was a murmur among the dignified and reverend occupants of the balcony; and Governor Bellingham gave expression to its purport, speaking in an authoritative voice” (61). Reverend Wilson, as well as Governor Bellingham, are corrupt, old religious men, allowed to get away with corrupt ideas due to their positions. Dimmesdale is allowed to stay anonymous as Hester’s lover throughout the book for this privilege given to those high up on the social ladder. While raising Pearl, Hester nearly loses her child to her local …show more content…
Throughout the novel, women suffer publicly for crimes men wouldn’t be accused of, let alone would men be obligated to suffer for said crimes. Men, on the other hand, repent silently for any crimes they have committed, hiding behind the veil of anonymity provided by their corrupt government. Men and women receive different punishments due to the fact that men are higher up in the hierarchy than women are. Patriarchal grandpas corrupting American soil lynch ladies while letting men who commit crimes slide by with no

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