Archetypal Scarlet Letter

577 Words3 Pages
Hawthorne filled his story, scarlet letter with different archetypes. Being an archetypal novel, the scarlet letter has some deep connections with important meanings within them. Yet, Hawthorne does an excellent job of tying them into the story line. He uses the situational, symbolic, and character archetypes to really emphasize on a very repetitive topic in this novel: sin. Biblically, we all are sinners. We all “fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) But, the way Hawthorne uses the Puritan society seems to contradict that statement. The way the society acts strict and unforgiving towards the main character, Hester Prynne, who is the novel’s protagonist and the wearer of the scarlet letter “A”, which signifies that she is an “adulterer”, expresses the hypocrisy of the Puritans. This is clearly shown through the exclusion, the badge of infamy, and the resent of Hester’s only treasure-Pearl. ** Clearly, Hester’s sin was out in the open for everyone to see. She was not hiding it. But this sin is only apparent to the Puritans. Similar to Mary being pregnant with Jesus, the Puritans continuously insult and ridicule Hester, acting as an antagonist in the story. The only reason of this though is because the women believe Hester may have slept with one of their own husbands. They believed that Hester’s husband has been lost sea, far too long to have a baby. So now Hester is said to be “impure”. In fact, it is quoted, “A pure hand needs no glove to cover it”( ), which is referred to Hester. In other words, one who is innocent will have no meaning to hide oneself. Therefore, Hester suffers through exclusion from the Puritans; an example of a situational archetype. ** To symbolize Hester’s “sin”, the Puritans brand her with the scarlet letter, “A”, giving the book its title. Obviously, this “A” has a great importance to the novel, one being a
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