Hester Prynne as Puritan Victim in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter - Hester Prynne as Puritan Victim

In the first several chapters of The Scarlet Letter we can understand Hester Prynne to be a good but misunderstood soul. Labeled as an adulteress, she is the victim of the Puritan lifestyle. A person with many positive traits, she is treated as a terrible person for one unholy act. Far from the evil woman that some of her neighbors see, Hester is a strong, proud and loyal person who resists the worst influences of her community.

Once Hester has begun to wear the scarlet letter in public and is interrogated, she holds out against the preachers in a great display of strength. Reverend Dimmesdale is the first to try to entice her to divulge her accomplice's name.
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Hester's loyalty is most revealed when Roger Chillingsworth demands that she tell him her partner's name. Trying to convince her that this unknown man has wronged them both, he asks her for his name so that they may both get revenge upon him. After already enduring all she thought she could handle during her display, this request challenges Hester nearly to the point of conceding,but her sense of loyalty rejuvenates her moral resistance. She prevails and keeps his secret, forcing her husband to seek the man by himself. Even though her partner is probably destined to be caught, either by the authorities or by Roger Chillingsworth, Hester's loyalty makes her refuse to be responsible for his capture.

Strong and loyal, hester is also very proud. As she emerges from the prison, the most contemptuous women of the town are waiting for her. At first she tries to cover up her mark of sin, but then she realizes that attempting to hide it would only bring on more shame, so she reveals to everyone the letter sewn into her clothes. She has turned what was supposed to be an ugly label into a beautifully embroidered symbol. The letter already upsets her critics with its lavish anti-Puritan design, and it shows her rebellion against her punishment. She refuses to accept the shame as intended, and instead she bears her child and the scarlet letter proudly.
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