Symbolism Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' The Scarlet Letter '

Good Essays

Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is known to have a lot of symbolism. Symbolism is a way to convey ideas and give a book a deeper meaning to readers. While there are many symbols in the Scarlet Letter, there are a few that stand out more than others. Pearl, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are all main characters that have symbols. Hawthorne symbols are used to help readers relate to the story. In order to really comprehend the book the reader must understand the use of symbolism and what each of the characters represent. Pearl is the daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale. She was conceived while Hester was married to Chillingworth so Pearl was born out of sin. Pearl symbolizes the …show more content…

Dimmesdale’s scarlet letter on his chest showed that “...where the letter may be guessed to have appeared for a similar signifying function as on Hester, it is, however, as invisible as the act or condition it refers to”(Bell,17). While Dimmesdale may physically have the scarlet letter, the scarlet letter does not do anything in helping to relieve his guilt. No one knows of the scarlet letter on his breast or the child he made with Hester out of wedlock. He can not fully face the punishments for his sin making the guilt eat him alive. Many people assume that he took the easy road between him and Hester, but in the end he is the one who suffers most because he is unable to repent for his sins. Also, while readers might also assume that Dimmesdale holds regret for ever becoming involved with Hester, that is not the case. Dimmesdale says ”...of penance there has been enough, of penitence there is none” (Hawthorne, 212). Dimmesdale is saying that no matter what he does to punish himself it does not heal him and that he has no regret for being with Hester and having Pearl.
While Dimmesdale symbolizes guilt and regret, Hester symbolizes repentance. Repentance is the act of admitting your sins and starting to get forgiveness for them. Hester is a prime example of repentance. Hester admitted to the sin of adultery and she took the consequences for the sin. She proved to all the townspeople that she was still a

Get Access
Get Access