Hester Prynne; Pain of a Sin
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, it was not conceivable when people commit adultery. In this novel set in a seventeenth century Puritan town, Hester Prynne, is a young woman who executes adultery with the town’s minister, Arthur Dimmesdale. In effect of doing this, Prynne suffers more than any other character in the novel. Prynne is seized for committing a sin which was intolerable during the Puritan times. She must undergo extreme punishment, including serving months in prison, and having to stand upon the scaffold and withstand immense public scrutiny from the townspeople. In the crowd, Prynne notices somebody, her husband, who changed his name to Roger Chillingworth, who signals to her to keep quiet. Prynne keeps Dimmesdale’s and Chillingworth’s name a secret, thus forcing her to bear the letter “A” on her chest for all to see. Prynne is released from the prison, “Hester Prynne’s term of confinement was now at an end. Her prison-door was thrown open, and she came forth into the sunshine, which, falling on all alike, seemed, to her sick and morbid heart, as if meant for no other purpose than to reveal the scarlet letter on her breast” (Hawthorne 72). Isolated from the entire town, all Prynne has left is her infant, Pearl; the living proof of her sin. Prynne chose to live this way in order for her to protect Dimmesdale, the man she loved. She almost decides to flee town because of the extremity of how she is treated, but her heart is blinded by love, which tells her she needs to stay and endure her punishment.
Placed outside of the town in an abandoned cottage, Prynne and Pearl were forced to live away from society. “Lonely as was Hester’s situation, and without a friend on earth who dared show himself, she, however, incurred no risk of want” (Hawthorne 75). Prynne suffered from this, knowing that there was somebody out there trying to help her, but could not because of a sin they committed; because...
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