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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter

In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main characters are all affected by an affair that happened before the story started between Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. It starts off with Hester emerging from prison with a baby and a scarlet “A” on her chest. This signifies that she has committed an act that is frowned upon in her society and is now being punished for it. Hester’s husband who is disguised as Roger Chillingworth is supposed to be dead and the father of the baby is unknown, although it is known that it cannot be her husband. Although we are not present for the actions of Hester and Arthur, we are witnessing the aftermath of their affair and the effects on the main characters (Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Pearl) that are fueled by the actions of said event, whether it changes their lives for better or for worse.

Hester’s life changed drastically after her affair with Arthur Dimmesdale due to the fact that they had a baby named Pearl. Hester was publically humiliated and shunned for her actions. She was shamed and her reputation was ruined for having an affair with Reverend Dimmesdale. For which Hester was humiliated, “Ah, but” interposed, more softly, a young wife, holding a child by the hand, “let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart.” (Hawthorne 53-54) This shows that Hester was being shamed by her town just because she had a baby. It affected her in the future because there was no way she was going to be normal again. Everyone knew what she did, even Pearl was punished due to Hester’s actions.

Adding on to Hester Being made fun of, “It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!” (Hawthorne 71) The Scarlet Letter feels like it is branded on her body but is not. The fact that it is on her clothes for everyone to see hurts because it is worn to be looked down upon. She is practically the laughing stock in the community because she committed a sin and has to wear an A to show it.

Reverend Dimmesdale’s life also changed due to him having an affair with Hester Prynne. Although Reverend Dimmesdale would not confess that he is the father of Pearl publicly, he has to deal with his own guilt by tormenting himself substantially and intellectually. Dimmesdale was a smart and a religious man,he stated “Heaven hath granted thee an open ignominy, that thereby thou mayest work out an open triumph over the evil within thee, and the sorrow without, Take heed how thou deniest to him--who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself-- the bitter, but wholesome, cup that is now presented to thy lips!” (Hawthorne 70) This shows that Dimmesdale’s secret adultery with Hester can come out quickly due to Hester’s pregnancy. Dimmesdale is trying to tell Hester that she is given a great way to save a man. It is not because of a sinner but it is adultery and him being a hypocrite. Dimmesdale just have to stay in the dark and punish himself because of the sins and of what he had done of being an adulteress.

Roger Chillingworth was Hester Prynne’s husband. He treated Hester badly and ignored her most of the time but still cherished his feelings towards Hester. Roger Chillingworth is affected of adultery due to Hester his own wife having an affair with Reverend Dimmesdale. While Roger Chillingworth followed the guilt and drama, “As he spoke, he laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which forwith seemed to scortch into Hester’s breast, as if it had been red-hot. He notices her involuntary gesture, and smiled. “Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee, in the eyes of men and women- in the eyes of him thou didst call thy husband- in



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