Symbols In The Scarlet Letter

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Symbolism is a literary device where authors use different things, known as symbols to represent ideas in their writing. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, almost every important person, place, or item is a symbolism for an idea. Hawthorne uses an impressive amount of symbolism and has the ability to essentially create the novel’s story, moral, and theme through this symbolism. Some of the symbolism in the book is simple, and shallow such as sunshine and light symbolizing truth and redemption; however, there are other symbols that stand for much more intricate, complex, and deep ideas. Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, and Pearl are not only three main characters in The Scarlet Letter, they are three major symbols, for three …show more content…
Chillingworth acts as Dimmesdale’s personal physician, but he is also known by the reader to be Hester’s husband who came from England. Chillingworth picked up his name after hearing of Hester’s sin. The first clue from Hawthorne that Chillingworth acts as an important symbol is during the conversation between Hester and Chillingworth in the jail cell. Chillingworth demands to know the sinners name, but Hester refuses to tell him. He explains to her that he will find him, but assures her to “fear not for him! Think not that I shall interfere with Heaven’s own method of retribution, or, to my own loss, betray him to the gripe of human law….Let him hide himself in outward honor, if he may!”(Hawthorne 85). This conversation shows two things; first it reveals that Chillingworth wants revenge on the unknown sinner and will not stop until he is found, and it foreshadows Chillingworth’s actions for the rest of the novel and the way in which Dimmesdale will get his revenge. After this scene, it is very clear that Chillingworth symbolizes revenge and its destructive nature. Chillingworth works his way up into the upper class, surrounding himself with Dimmesdale, Governor Bellingham, and Reverend Wilson after arriving at Boston. Eventually he insists on becoming Dimmesdale’s in home physician, after he detects guilt coming from the man. After many attempts and conversations, …show more content…
Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth and Pearl are three important characters that double as important symbols. Dimmesdale symbolizes secret sin and the guilt that follows, Chillingworth symbolizes revenge and its destructive nature, and Pearl symbolizes the innocent result of sin as well as a push for the confession of sin. All three of these main characters help the plot development and the formation of the novels theme and morals as

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