Readers Response of ‘Scarlet Letter’

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Readers Response of ‘Scarlet Letter’

Despite the declination in the personal and societal standards of morality in the past century, it is still evident today that a universal standard of ethics does indeed exist in every civilization. Likewise, these communities administer consequences upon those who fail to meet up to those principles. The severity of the punishment inflicted rests solely on the offender, the offense and the society itself. For Hester Prynne, the penalty for fornication was a lifetime of public shame. 'Humiliation. In “The Scarlet Letter”, Nathaniel Hawthorne adeptly employed rhetorical devices such as allusion, syntax, metaphor, irony and imagery. He dares to probe the deleterious nature of revenge and the duplicity of character in the Puritan society circa the late 1600’s.

The Biblical allusions found in the Scarlet Letter are so great in number to the point of being obvious. First, Hester and Dimmesdale are comparative to Adam and Eve; after committing the infraction, she is cast out of the Puritan community and both are forced to live under the stress of their guilt and work to ease their consciences. When his character is first introduced in chapter three, Chillingworth is [rather aptly] paralleled to a snake (Hawthorne 61), yet another reference to the Garden. Hester is likened to the Virgin Mary (Hawthorne 56) in light of her pose with Pearl on the scaffold. There are multiple allusions to Biblical characters found in “The Scarlet Letter”.

Nathaniel Hawthorne also employs the use of syntax as a stylistic means. His sentences are generally excessively long, going into much unnecessary details. Oftentimes the book is difficult to understand due to Olde English words and style. The structure and longevity and word choice Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes in “The Scarlet Letter” lend to the style and time period of the book.

The title of the book is a testimony to the use of metaphors and layered...
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