Scarlet Letter Analysis

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SCENE: 17TH CENTURY BOSTON, then a Puritan settlement. CHARACTER OVERVIEW: Hester Prynne: Heroine • passionate and strong—she endures years of shame and scorn (due to adultery) • protagonist and the wearer of the scarlet letter (a patch of fabric in the shape of an “A,” signifies that Hester is an “adulterer.”) • married an elderly scholar, Chillingworth, who sent her ahead to America to live never followed her • waiting then had an affair with a Puritan minister named Dimmesdale o then gave birth to Pearl. • She equals both her husband and her lover in her intelligence and thoughtfulness. • alienation causes her to make acute observations about her community, particularly about its treatment of women Pearl : Hester’s illegitimate daughter • young girl with a moody, mischievous spirit and an ability to perceive things that others do not o EX: quickly finds out the truth about her mother and Dimmesdale (the lover). • The townspeople say that she barely seems human and spread rumors that her unknown father is actually the Devil(how ironic). • wise far beyond her years, frequently engaging in ironic play having to do with her mother’s scarlet letter Roger Chillingworth: Hester’s Husband • self-absorbed and both physically and psychologically monstrous o single-minded pursuit of retribution reveals him to be the most malevolent character in the novel • ACTUALLY Hester’s husband in disguise. o much older than Hester is and had sent her to America while he settled his affairs in Europe  Then captured by Native Americans • Then arrives in Boston belatedly and finds Hester and her illegitimate child being displayed on the scaffold. • lusts for revenge, and thus decides to stay in Boston despite his wife’s betrayal and disgrace • a scholar and uses his knowledge to disguise himself as a doctor, intent on discovering and tormenting

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