The Scarlet Letter Questions

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Noah Berley

10 October 2012

Why does Hester feel compassion towards Mr. Dimmesdale and the need to help him? (151) Hester sees Mr. Dimmesdale suffering and observes that he is on the verge of lunacy. Hester felt guilty in letting Mr. Dimmesdale be thrown into a pit of such evil and not pledging her loyalty nor her courage to him. She felt even more empathetic towards him due to the fact that she had gone through a period of craziness and sorrow herself and was still recovering from it.

What does Chillingworth say to Hester to attempt to show her forgiveness and peace? (156) Chillingworth lets Hester know that a certain magistrate has been wondering whether or not they should remove the scarlet letter from Hester’s dress. He claims that he has made an earnest request to the magistrate to do so quickly. Hester responds by saying that it is not the magistrate’s right to order it removed. Chillingworth says that she should then just wear the letter, for it suits her well.

Why is Chillingworth reluctant to forgive Dimmesdale? (157) Chillingworth believes that he has no power to forgive. That just as it was Hester’s fate to commit adultery, it was his destiny to turn into a greedy “devil”. Chillingworth has wrecked Dimmesdale’s life and feels no remorse for his actions, therefore leaving him with no resolution with this ordeal.

What questions does Pearl ask her mother? Why does this trouble Hester? (161) Pearl asks her mother about the scarlet letter on her chest. Pearl is now old enough to begin to question the origin and purpose of the letter. She asks her why Hester wears it. Hester says that she wears it for the sake of it gold thread, which she is obviously lying about. Hester has never lied about the symbol and almost as if Pearl is able to sense this, she keeps asking about the symbol an the minister’s hand over his heart. Heaster replies with a harshness she has never used before, she doesn’t want Pearl to know the truth....
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