The Scaffold Scenes in Nathaniel Hawthrone´s The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is known as a psychological novel regarding humanity, sin, guilt, and a fair amount of other ambiguous concepts. One of those is the significance of the three scaffold scenes throughout the work. The scaffold scenes signify religious and moral ideas, such as sinfulness, the spiritual figures the characters each portray, and the character development achieved by public and private absolution. The first scaffold scene begins the novel. In chapters two through three, the protagonist Hester Prynne stands on the scaffold, bearing a scarlet “A” and a child at her breast as signs of her adultery. She is interrogated and lectured by the Puritan ministers of the town, including Arthur Dimmesdale, who is later discovered to have been Hester’s partner in crime and the father of Hester’s baby Pearl. The first scaffold scene hosts also the initial appearance of Hester’s speculated-dead husband, Roger Chillingworth, amidst the crowd of townspeople watching his wife’s public humiliation. “Had there been a Papist among the crowd of Puritans, he might have seen in this beautiful woman [Hester], so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom, an object to remind him of the image of Divine Maternity…” (Hawthorne, ch.2, ¶17). The depiction of Hester as the Virgin Mary connotes a sympathetic tone of the author towards her character. The sin Hester committed is to be with her for the rest of her life, and when she removes the
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