The Scarlet Letter


Cast of Characters

Hester Prynne – Hester Prynne is the main character and principal protagonist of The Scarlet Letter. She is a married woman living in Puritan-era Boston. Hester is from England, where she married an elderly man who sent her to the colonies ahead of him. However, Hester’s husband does not arrive in Boston, and is presumed by many to be lost at sea. While she is in Boston waiting for her husband to join her, Hester has an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale, the Puritan minister. Hester cannot hide that she has had an affair; she becomes pregnant with her daughter, Pearl. She is publicly shamed for her role as an adulteress, but she refuses to reveal the identity of her novel. Hester’s punishment includes a partial banishment; while they do not force her to leave the community, they do push her to the outskirts of town. Hester wears the titular scarlet “A” on her clothing as tangible evidence of her adultery.

Pearl – Pearl is Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale’s daughter, though neither parent confirms her father’s identity for most of the novel. Her personality, along with her illegitimate status, differentiate her from the other townspeople. Pearl is known to be both mischievous and emotional. Throughout her childhood she has been subjected to rumors and speculation about her paternity, with some people suggesting that the Devil is her father. Though she seems above the speculation of others, it should come as no surprise that she oftentimes torments those children who torment her.

Roger Chillingworth – Roger Chillingworth is the pseudonym selected by Hester’s husband. Chillingworth does not reveal his real name in the novel. Much of Chillingworth’s history is a mystery. He is much older than Hester, and shortly after their marriage, he sent his young bride to the colonies to await his arrival. However, he never arrived, and was presumed by many to be lost at sea. In reality, he did not perish at sea; though he was in a shipwreck, he was...

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Essays About The Scarlet Letter