Discuss The Importance Of The Scarlet Letter In Th

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The scarlet letter which stands for the ignominious Puritan punishment for Adultery is skilfully used by Hawthorne to denounce their rigidity. It is used as if it were a magical mirror, it magnifies the protagonists’ stances on the Puritans’ creed and judgement and has a deep impact on the characters’ development and how Hawthorne has lead them on different paths. First and foremost, the scarlet letter, as the symbol of the Puritan rigid conception of life, enables the narrator to depict the Puritans’ punishment as overreacting to a so-called sinful behaviour. As far as Hester Prynne is concerned, the scarlet letter, which first symbolises her sin, enables her to become, in the end, the embodiment of virtue and freedom of thought and to lie in sharp contrast with the Puritans. On the contrary, imprisoned in the Puritan way of thinking, the scarlet letter leads Arthur Dimmesdale to his fall. He is indeed gnawed by guilt and secrecy. *** The scarlet letter symbolises the Puritan’s stance on adultery and is considered as a deadly sin. The scarlet letter is referred to in almost every page. One has the impression that the letter represents the Puritan’s message that is drilled to the population in order to anchor it in their mind. The numerous occurrences of the scarlet letter combined with the hypotaxis style, gives a sense of a message being hammered to the reader just like a sermon: “the ignominious letter” (chap.2 p.52), “with the scarlet letter of infamy “ (chap.3 p.58) “the mark of shame” (chap.3 p.60), “at the token of her shame” (chap. 4 p.68). This is reinforced by the many metaphors of the flames of hell – “burning shame […] the scarlet letter […] seemed to scorch into Hester’s breast, as if it had been red-hot” (chap.4 p.67) ; “… burned on Hester Prynne’s bosom” (chap.14 p.148). One is invited to see the Puritans as ignominious as their
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