Through Hester Prynne’s captivity of sin, as depicted by the scarlet letter on her chest, Hester is granted freedom to observe and live a life of her own choosing as well as grant that for her illegitimate child, Pearl. Hester Prynne is held physically captive by the scarlet letter which binds her to sin and the town’s public knowledge of her adultery: “Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast […] as the figure, the body, the reality of sin,” (95). Hester is obligated to be both excluded from the community, but to be ridiculed and scorned daily by it as well because of the physical depiction of captivity upon her chest. The scarlet letter, however, is what grants Hester Prynne freedom: “She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness. […] The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread,” (237-238). Hester uses her sin to her advantage and takes her freedom to do right by the community which has thus judged her and becomes a nurse. Hester is also free to disclose at any time
Even though Hester was publicly shamed for her sin and forced to wear a scarlet letter, a badge of shame, she did not submit to the public’s insults. Even while delivering the materials she sewed, “Dames of elevated rank... were accustomed to distil drops of bitterness into her heart... alchemy of quiet malice, by which women can concoct a subtle poison from ordinary trifles… fell upon the sufferer’s defenseless breast like a rough blow upon an ulcerated wound… and she never responded to these attacks” (127). The negative connotation and personification of the insults emphasizes the amount of acerbity she received because of her notorious sin. Despite this, the public humiliation caused by the scarlet letter essentially separated her from the Puritan ideals like “a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relation with humanity”(61). This personification of the scarlet letter allows Hawthorne to present how Hester reacted to the ignominy caused by her sin. This isolation also permits Hester to formulate her own reasoning on what is right and wrong based on her own standards. All this freedom, in turn as Hawthorne presents, comes from revealing the sin. Hawthorne also presents this act as favorable since at the very end, the women in the society, some of whom once scorned her, sought advice from her. This suggests that the civilization which one banished all sinners had accepted one of them back. The reader can safely conclude that revealing the truth, although it may be harsh at first, can result in positive aspects towards the
Her being forced to wear the scarlet letter which led her to becoming a women’s advocate reflects the theme that good things come from bad. There was plenty of negative backlash to Hester's mistake, however she gained the ability to help other women struggling just like her. “They said that it meant Able, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength” (pg 177, Hawthorne). The sin she committed and the experience gained through the aftermath of that sin, gives her insight on what it's like to be a woman who's being discriminated. Raising her daughter on her own and her saving her from harming herself reflects the theme that everyone makes mistakes. After all Hester is human just like everyone else. It is in our nature to make mistakes or even sin. “It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society” (pg 181, Hawthorne). The actions we take to reverse or to compensate for that sin is what makes us who we are as individuals. Her being alienated from society and developing an independent thinking mindset mirrors the theme that one must acknowledge their mistakes to learn from them. Hester’s society made it abundantly clear that what she did was absolutely heinous and that she needs to repent and beg for forgiveness. The isolation she suffered through helped her become an independent thinker and develop thoughts that we would consider ahead of her time. “The world's law was no law for her mind” (pg 180, Hawthorne). Being excluded socially gave her a chance to dwell in her own thoughts and gather perceptions different from that of other puritans. This decision that Hester makes is very important to the story because it mirrors many of the major themes the author tried getting across to its
The Crucible is a novel based on the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, written by Arthur Miller. The Crucible demonstrates forbidden temptation between John Proctor and Abigail Williams, honor and dishonor in the town of Salem, ruthless revenge, and the strive for high social status. The narrative style of this play is standard 1950s everyday language. The Crucible is set in a theocratic society of Puritanism in 1692.
The novel opens with the people of the town gathering outside the jailhouse with “grim rigidity” (Hawthorne 47) waiting for Hester to appear. As she proceeds to exit the jail, Hester encounters snide remarks from people around her. She describes leaving the jailhouse as agonizing: “Haughty as her demeanor was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon” (Hawthorne 52). Her society makes Hester feel inferior and unwelcome after she commits a sin, reflecting their lack of compassion and sympathy for each other. When she is given her punishment to wear the scarlet letter on her chest for as long as she lives, the townspeople react negatively and demand a harsher punishment. A woman in the crowd asserts “At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead” (Hawthorne 49). Yet another yells, “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there not law for it” (Hawthorne 49). In saying this, they allude to the idea that Hester should have faced a more severe punishment, preferably one that involved physical pain. From Hester’s treatment, it is clear that Puritans are “a grim and gloomy race, impatient with
Guilt is often one of the hardest emotions for a person to overcome. Guilt is one of the few emotions that can hurt someone long after their integrity was damaged. Lying about something or someone, majority of the time makes a person ask themselves “ Did I make the right choice.” However, guilt can be a blessing and a curse. Guilt can show someone the truth behind their actions and make them act upon it. In contrast of that sporadically it makes situations worse. For example in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible one of the main characters John Proctor feels as if he would feel too guilty if he signed his paper confessing his satanic works.He refuses to have this paper hanged on the church door, his emotions overtake him and he rips the document into two halves. Contradicting that statement, Abigail Williams a teenage girl, blames her use of witchcraft on a clueless slave named Tituba and she has no disregard for her actions. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller seems to prove that habitually people would rather hold other people accountable for their actions other than themselves.
To begin, Hawthorne uses the scarlet letter “A” to reinforce the theme of Guilt. Hester Prynne, the protagonist of The Scarlet Letter, is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” upon her bosom because she has committed the sin of adultery. This leads Hester to feel guilty for the rest of her life. Hawthorne states, “... that scarlet letter, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (Hawthorne 51). The quote shows how feeling guilt has made her much more distant from the rest of the townspeople. Hester experiences this agonizing guilt whenever she glances in a mirror, or down at her chest. Pearl is the result of Hester’s
Hester Prynne of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter defies the Puritan belief system through her rebellion and compassion. Hester defies the Puritan belief system through her rebellion. Hester Prynne, while in Boston waiting for her husband to come from Amsterdam, commits the crime of adultery and gives birth to a child, causing her to be punished. Hawthorne describes her crime in dialogue between Hester’s husband, who has just arrived in Boston and is unaware of Hester’s circumstances, and a towns member who infers as to what she has done and how much of an uproar it has caused, during her public punishment, in the government forces her to stand on a scaffold for three hours and condemned to wear an A on her chest
Hester Prynne is forced to wear the scarlet letter for the rest of her life because of the one sin she has committed. As she stands on the scaffold in front of the whole town she is told “... And then and the after for the remained of her natural life, to wear a mark of shame upon her bosom.” (Hawthorne 59). This quote shows that hester is forever going to be guilty for the one sin she has committed with Dimmesdale. Hester will never be treated the same or looked at the same off because of the Scarlet A on her bosom. As the book goes on Hester moves into a cabin that is half in the forest and half in society and raised her daughter Pearl. She made clothes for a living and she decided to start making extra clothes for the poor. Hawthorne then explains how the poor don’t even have respect for Hester because of her scarlet letter “...she give of her little substance to every demand of poverty; even though the bitter-hearted pauper threw back a gibe in requital of the food…” ( Hawthorne 146). This proves that she is still being treated different because if her sin. She is getting treated so wrongly and this sometimes make her feel guilty for committing her sin. Although Hester can leave at anytime she plesases she decides to stay in this town because she believe she should be punished in the same town that she committed her sin. She also stays because of
Due to Hester’s crime of adultery, she must wear a scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life. Hester first exemplifies her strength when she is released from prison and people were expecting to see her “dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud,” (Hawthorne, 49). However, the townspeople find her more gorgeous and ladylike than before. This shows Hester’s inner strength, due to the fact that she is not easily distraught by her punishment. As Hester endures her public penance, the angry crowds are looking at her letter, and Hester repays them with a “bitter and disdainful smile,” even though the reader gets the impression that she is not truly handling the punishment well (Hawthorne, 53). This displays Hester’s inner strength, Hester is able to hide her feelings during her punishment. The author states that Hester endures the pain from her public penance that morning; however she does this by protecting her spirit with insensibility (Hawthorne, 63). This exemplifies how strong Hester’s demeanor is throughout her shameful
Hester has acknowledged her sin and learned to live with it even though it was hard at first. She hot used to to and moved on to live a normal life. “When the young woman— the mother of this child—stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the infant close to her bosom; not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token.” (Scarlet Letter page 50.) Hester shows that she is uncomfortable with the A of her chest, so she tires to hide it, and for a while she becomes very haughty towards society. “The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her—so much power to do, and power to sympathize—that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that is meant Abel, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” (Scarlet Letter page 110.) Hester is starting to become abel to do things by herself. “Hester Prynne went one day to the mansion of Governor Bellingham, with a pair of gloves which
This ridicule has a trickle down effect on Hester as she too is banished from her own community for committing adultery. The comparison between Hester and Hawthorne defines the external struggle for the reader to fully understand the effect of opinions from society on them Although reluctant to allow Hester to leave prison, the members of the town suggest that her punishment be to wear a scarlet red letter A on her bosom, thereby allowing all to know of her crime. The scarlet letter “ was red-hot with infernal fire, ” (Hawthorne 81) and defined the state she was currently in, that being eternal hell. Though she was forced to marry an older man at a young age, her rebellion to have an affair is not seen as an internal struggle that she overcame; rather, it is merely seen as a woman who sinned, a woman who shall therefore endure the punishment for the sin, rather than a woman who was never given a say in what she wanted with her life. Time and again, Hester Prynne is seen defying society by allowing herself to stand out from societal norm just as the roses “with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner“ (Hawthorne) did. Instead, she returns to the community and is observed aiding those in need, all with seven year old Pearl by her side.
One of the many works written and driven by Puritan influence, The Crucible by Arthur Miller has continued to influence life and thinkings. Its story tracing the 1692 Salem Witch Trials has been widely read, received and understood, along with influencing the reader and their ideals. The play has manifested into more than words on a page and has become of the greatest influences, even sixty years after its publication. Though its story has not changed and is merely a retelling of the original itself, its themes have greatly impacted its universal and enduring state.
Imagine the year is 1692. In a small Massachusetts town a culture of highly religious folk live in peace. Salem. It´s late January and the reverendś young niece Abigail and only daughter begin to act strangely. Rumors of witchcraft fly through town and fear runs rampant.In around a year 200 people are unjustifiably accused and 20 sentenced to capital punishment. Who is next? The strange widow down the road? The Coreys? In a time of obscured justice, line were crossed and innocent lives lost. In his breakthrough play, The Crucible, Arthur Miller spins a tale not far from the truth.Letting his readers explore a gruesome tale of blind hatred. In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Abigail Williams embodies the wrongdoings of the Salem Witch Trials.
Hester Prynne’s ability to sustain her stability and strength of spirit is the express result of her public guilt and penance. She was Arthur Dimmesdale’s partner in adultery, but she is used by Hawthorne as a complete foil to his situation. Unlike Dimmesdale, Hester is both strong and honest. Walking out of prison at the beginning of the novel, she decides that she must “sustain and carry” her burden forward “by the ordinary resources of her nature, or sink with it. She could no longer borrow from the future to help her through the present grief” (54). Hester openly acknowledges her sin to the public, and always wears her scarlet letter A. In the forest scene, she explains to Dimmesdale that she has been truthful in all things except in revealing his part in her pregnancy. “A lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side” (133). Even Dimmesdale himself realizes that Hester’s situation is much healthier than his own when he states, “It must needs be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, as this poor woman Hester is, than to cover it all up in his heart” (92-93). This life of public shame and repentance, although bitter, lonely, and difficult, helps Hester retain her true identity while Dimmesdale seems to be losing his.