Readers generally characterize the Puritan Townspeople in The Scarlet Letter by their attitudes in the beginning of the novel. When Hester first walks into the scene, most of the townspeople are very harsh and strict in their religions. They believe that adultery is one of the worst sins possible. One unyielding woman says, “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there not law for it? Truly, there is, both in the Scripture and in the statutebook. Then let the magistrates, who have made it of no effect, thank themselves if their own wives and daughters go astray.” Although a young woman and a righteous man try to intervene with the angry old women, their voices are never heard. Also, Hawthorne associates ugliness with wickedness; therefore, all of the stingy women are described as being very ugly. They regard her not as a fellow sinner but as a woman so evil that she must be ostracized from her “perfect” community. They view the scarlet letter that she wears upon her breast as a symbol of her atrocious crime of adultery and nothing more. The women in the beginning of the novel are so quick to pass judgment on others,... [continues]
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