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.
Punishment in The Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, physical punsihment is nothing compared to how the mind can cause punishment. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester Phynne is isolated by the members of Purtian society and left with her child Pearl, a constent reminder of her sin. Dimmesdale’s choice to not feese up to his sin leaves him with mental punishment that makes him sicker and weaker. Chillingsworth does not receive pain, but he does inflict pain to those around him. The main characters of The Scarlet Letter are left to tourment by themselves, the worst punishment of them all.
It felt to Hester as though the red cloth emanated a “burning heat; and as if the letter were not of red cloth, but red-hot iron” (30). As beautiful and as ornately designed as the letter was, it was created as a symbol of shame to be worn by Hester and to be seen and condemned by everyone in the town. Hawthorne’s decision for the letter to be red can be seen as symbolic, as the color can represent the pain that Hester has with the situation. It can also be seen as the death of her innocence as she is judged by society. Later in the novel the color red is used to describe Pearl, called a “scarlet vision” by the narrator (101).
The most important symbol in the book, the embroidered "A" on her bosom, sewed on as punishment for adultery, is also a symbol for alienation. She is different from all of society because of that mark, and can never live a normal life because of it. Hester was most likely the best seamstress in Boston she was unable to embroide a wedding vale for any bride. The white vale symbolized purity and the hands of Hester were not pure. Hester, being an outcast of society, experiences the most evident and apparent form of isolation and alienation.
One of the most significant A's is one the townspeople see on Dimmesdale's chest at the end of the novel. The letter A has a variety of meanings in the story, as well; it has a different meaning for each character. The community sees the letter as mark of righteous punishment. Hester acknowledges the A as a symbol of humiliation. Dimmesdale sees the letter as a reminder of his guilt.
The Scarlet Letter "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a somewhat short novel. It is about a women named Hester Prynne who has done an act of adultery. She is forced to wear a letter A on her chest symbolizing adultery. This all happens when she thinks her husband Roger Chillingworth died at seas so she sees another man. The mans name is Arthur Dimmesdale whom she conceives a child with named Pearl.
In Jacobean times women were seen as inferior and even in the Victoria era, thus she required external forces to crush her conscience to allow her to fulfil her ambition. Yet she is afraid her feminine qualities will prevent her from achieving the murder of King Duncan. Which would gradually lead to her mental breakdown. Regicide was considered a mortal sin in Jacobean times, one God couldn't forgive. Whereas Browning’s protagonist in The Laboratory sustains her feminine qualities this is reflected in the line “The colours too grim” in which she is referring to her dislike of the colour of poison and that it needs to be 'brightened' up in order to convince her victim to drink it.
We realize she is being punished for adultery as well, and is called "my poor scapegoat" by the poet. He says he would have almost loved her but still would have "cast the stones of silence" The poet is feeling helpless, and doesn't want the poor girl to die. However, he, like the other people in the crowd, does not say a word of protest. He calls himself "the artful voyeur", or just a silent spectator. But we begin to
‘’Where was Tess’ guardian angel’’ Hardy asks at the scene in the woods, showing that god was not watching over and did not intervene to help Tess. The tone of this is almost sneering, as if Hardy believed Victorian society was narrow minded to think that there was a greater being watching over and looking after them. In this, Tess is lonely as well, because her beliefs are no longer the same as the rest of society. When she comes across the clergyman painting the sign ‘’thy damnation slumbereth not’’, she believes that the words are condemning her. However, although she believes she is guilty, she does not believe that she has sinned.
A cause for concern in Tis Pity is that Giovanni’s actions are not condemned. It is presented by Ford to be a “tumultuous passion that brings about his destruction” according to the critic Mark Stavig. His passions are inescapable it seems and so he cannot be held accountable for his drastic actions. Conversely, because of Annabella’s position as a woman, she is consciously aware of her own fate and knows that if their incestuous relationship was to carry on further, harsh repercussions would occur. The Friar tries to dissuade Giovanni from commencing the relationship despite there being little effect from his words.