Scarlet Letter Symbolism Essay

624 Words3 Pages
Symbolism within The Scarlet Letter Within the first few chapters of The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne places emphasis on various blurbs of definitive imagery. The reader is informed on the main character, Hester Prynne, and the moral predicament she is in while facing a crowd of angry yet curious townspeople. But some of this imagery isn’t displayed just for the mere purpose of providing description. Hawthorne also relies on symbolism that, when repetitively used within the text, offers a second layer of description that highlights the significance of these blurbs in a way that imagery can’t. When Hester is first introduced she is sentenced for her crimes of adultery to stand on a scaffold described as an “instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to the public gaze.”(Hawthorne 37) By standing on the scaffold, the accused becomes a living example of sin and its consequences to the citizens below. In a figurative sense, they then become the scaffold, considering how deeply engrained the negative connotations are to anyone related. Hawthorne uses the scaffold to symbolize the ostracizing of Hester Prynne by the Puritan people. He uses the scaffold to represent the “purgatory”…show more content…
Not much is known about it, as not many people choose to interact with it, but stories of “The Black Man”, whom carries a book for sinners to sign in blood (78) lurking within, are common. The forest is seen by the Puritan people as dangerous most likely due to these stories. Hawthorne, by using the perspective of Hester Prynne, also paints this forest as a source of relief and freedom from the Puritan society. Her private affairs with her daughter and Dimmesdale are kept hidden while in the forest, allowing her to come to terms with her sin. When she does this she gathers the strength to confront people like Chillingworth for meddling and other vindictive
Open Document