Josh Lyon. Mrs. Voshell. Honors English 10. 6 January 2017.
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Honors English 10
6 January 2017
Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter
Within The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne uses symbolism, “the use of symbols to represent ideas” (Bell 10), affluently. The amount of symbolism Hawthorne uses could lead some to believe that The Scarlet Letter is in fact an allegory. Nearly every object in Hawthorne’s novel is symbolic. Hawthorne uses everyday objects and places to symbolize many main themes, concepts, and ideas in the lives of Hester and Pearl as well as multiple other main characters. Hester Prynne, the protagonist of the novel, is a symbol for human morality and the frailty therein. In the second chapter, when the townswomen are gossiping about Hester’s scandal, one of the women, who is…show more content… In this way Chillingworth is a symbol for torture and punishment as well as revenge. Chillingworth wants to bring his vengeance upon the paramour of Hester. This motive is reinforced when Chillingworth states “His fame, his position, his life will be in my hands. Beware!” (Hawthorne 86). Once Roger Chillingworth had found the good reverend they were living in the same house, as Chillingworth was Arthur Dimmesdale’s physician. Chillingworth had his suspicions about the minister, but when he was certain Dimmesdale was the father to Hester’s child he began to torment Dimmesdale more than ever. Hawthorne writes of Chillingworth’s thoughts “He could play upon him as he chose.Would he arouse him with a throb of agony?...Would he startle him with sudden fear?” (Hawthorne 155)
Pearl is Hester 's and Dimmesdale’s daughter. She also symbolizes her mother’s sin. When Hester takes Pearl to Governor Bellingham, Dimmesdale says in Hester’s defense “...for a retribution too; a torture to be felt...an ever-recurring agony...so forcibly reminding us of that red symbol which sears her bosom?” (Hawthorne 126). By this Dimmesdale means that Hester can never forget her sin because Pearl will always be there as a constant reminder of Hester’s past.
When at the Governor’s mansion we can see Governor Billingham as he symbolizes purity as well as law and order. The Reverend Wilson can also symbolize purity and law, as there was little to no separation of