Recurring events show great significance and elucidate the truth beneath
appearances. In The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne chooses the scaffold
scenes to show powerful differences and similarities. Each scaffold scene
foreshadows the next and brings greater understanding of the novel. By
beginning with the first, continuing with the middle, and ending with the last
platform scene, we can gain a better understanding of this masterpiece.
At the beginning of the book, Hester is brought out with Pearl to stand on
the scaffold. Here the scarlet letter is revealed to all. Reverend Dimmesdale,
Pearl's Father, is already raised up on a platform to the same height as Hester
and Pearl; and Roger Chillingworth, Hester's lost husband, arrives, stands below
and questions the proceedings. As Hester endures her suffering, Dimmesdale is
told to beseech the woman to confess. It was said "So powerful seemed the
ministers appeal that the people could not believe but that Hester Prynne would
speak out the guilty name." His powerful speech shows Dimmesdale's need to
confess. This scene sets the stage for the next two scenes.
A few years later the event is again repeated. It is very similar to the
other and helps us understand the torment of Dimmesdale. As before the
tortured Reverend Dimmesdale goes first on to the platform. He seeks a
confession of his sins a second time by calling out into the night. He then
sees Hester and Pearl coming down the street from the governor's house. As
before, they are asked to go up on the scaffold and be with the minister. At
this time Pearl questions the minister if he will do this at noontide and he
answers no. He once again is too much of a coward to confess out in the open.
The similarities continue with a revelation of another scarlet letter. Up in
the sky a scarlet "A" shines forth. Roger Chillingworth arrives and tells the
minister to get down from the scaffold.... [continues]
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(1999, 10). The Scarlet Letter: the Scaffold's Power. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Scarlet-Letter-Scaffolds-Power-1975.html
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"The Scarlet Letter: the Scaffold's Power." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Scarlet-Letter-Scaffolds-Power-1975.html.