Hester Prynne In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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An analysis of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, reveals several symbols, one of the most prominent being the scarlet letter. Throughout the novel the scarlet letter contributes to the plot by being the object of concern. Nearly every event in the novel is due to the scarlet letter and its significance to others. The scarlet letter takes several forms throughout the novel, first being adultery and sin. Branded on her chest by the letter glowing with scarlet, Hester Prynne is commanded to show her sin to any passerby. “On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter “A”” (Hawthorne 60). While this letter showcased her sin, Hester did not let it showcase her personality. As…show more content…
Along with a newfound look, came a newfound attitude of strength and independence. Hester managed to change the meaning of the letter from sin and humility to rather a sense of ability. “Individuals in private life, meanwhile, had quite forgiven Hester Prynne for her frailty; nay, more, they had begun to look upon the scarlet letter as the token, not of that one sin, for which she had borne so long and dreary a penance, but of her many good deeds since” (Hawthorne 157). Hawthorne, one may reveal, used the scarlet letter throughout the novel as a complex tool, affecting not only the plot and symbolism, but also the characters. The scarlet letter revealed characteristics through those in which came in contact with the wearer. Hester’s husband, Roger Chillingworth, in the light of the letter, revealed his true character. Chillingworth was a man filled with hate, revenge, as well as a thirst for Hester Prynne’s affections. The scarlet letter aided in revealing these traits by contributing a sense of awareness to the conflict. The letter was a constant reminder of the sin, which his wife had committed with
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