Essay On Shakespeare 's ' The Scarlet Letter '

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The Role of Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne’s use of Symbolism in the story The Scarlet Letter adds immense depth and meaning to the story. The use of symbols help authors express complex ideas without using as many words. A symbol is an object that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract. Symbols in stories help convey the idea of a story in a more expressive way. They help you to show your story to the readers, instead of just telling it. Themes can sound too preachy and stories can sound too shallow. Symbolism weaves the two together and helps to portray a theme while writing a story. “The symbol expands and adds to our levels of understanding (Roberts, Edgar).”…show more content…
To each of the characters, it had a deeper meaning. It represented the shame in their lives. In this symbol, we can view two different sides of the meaning of shame. The community sees Hester as a fallen, sinful woman and Dimmesdale as a saint. The first example is seen in the way Hester wears her scarlet letter. She wears it on her clothes for everybody around her to see. People see her and look down on her because when they see it, they see her sin. When people look at Hester, their gaze is not on her face and who she is, but it is on the letter on her chest. People no longer know her by her name, but by her sin. She wears her shame and it identifies her wherever she goes. Hawthorne shows us this at one instance in the book. “When strangers looked curiously at the scarlet letter, they branded it afresh into Hester’s soul: so that oftentimes, she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain from covering the symbol with her hand.” The word “branded” develops the idea that the letter is sealed to her soul and is now a part of who she is. Her shame is an outward form of shame, and the cold, criticizing hearts of the people around her are her punishment. Another example of what shame can be is found in another use of symbolism. Dimmesdale suffers from a much different form of shame. He wears his scarlet letter on his chest, not outwardly on his clothing. Nobody knows of the letter except for Dimmesdale
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