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Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

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Ali Aslam

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Apparently human nature cannot be dictated by a rigid set of rules, or beliefs's which allow no room for change, as shown in the three scaffold scenes. In the Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the story is set in the New England Puritan world where a woman has committed the sin of adultery. The major points that are highly symbolic in this book are: the first scaffold scene, the second scaffold scene, and the third scaffold scene. The three scaffold scenes are highly symbolic because it discusses the major changing roles of the main characters and of the Puritan society as a whole.

The first scaffold scene is in the very beginning of the book, where the reader sees the major themes of the book, and all of the main character's roles in the book are defined. Arthur Dimesdale is shown to be on the scaffold demanding Hester that she tell, who the father of her daughter is, even though it is he who is the father. This scene shows the complexity of the situation Dimmesdale is in, he doesn't want the crowd to suspect him so he pretends as if there is someone else. This also shows that Dimmesdale keeps something hidden within, although he secretly wishes he could let it out. Hester Prinne holds her daughter Pearl who is a mark of her sin. This is highly symbolic because Pearl is like a mark of the sin she committed. Roger Chillingworth is also in the outskirts of the crowd and makes comments as to who the father is. This shows the unraveling of the evil plot that Chilingworth has planned. The comments he makes could be seen as a direct hit towards Dimmesdale, because Dimmesdale is the real father. The first scaffold scene shows the relationship and role of each major character.

The second scaffold scene is shown at night in the middle of the book. It starts on the scaffold with only Dimmesdale present, and as he goes deep within himself he let's out a shriek. This shows the pain that Dimmesdale feels because of the secret that he is forced to keep within himself. Later on, Hester and Pearl join Dimmesdale on the scaffold where they met seven years earlier. Again just like before all three characters, Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl are present just like in the first scene. Pearl asks Dimmesdale if he would join them at noontide, but the minister replies he will join them on Judgment Day. Also, during this night on the scaffold a meteor streaks across the sky, supposedly showing the letter



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