The Sccaffold Scenes In The Scarlett Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Decent Essays

Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist during the Romantic period in the 19th century. He lived in Salem, Massachusetts where his family had lived for five generations. Most of Hawthorne’s works are satires focused around Puritan communities and are partially autobiographies relating to his own life. One of Hawthorne’s most well known works is The Scarlett Letter published in 1850. This novel is set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1640’s based around the Puritan colony and its strict values. The novel looks into Hawthorne’s common theme of sin when the main character Hester Prynne commits adultery with the town minister Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester and their daughter Pearl, are forced to stand on the scaffold with her mother as …show more content…

Due to the guilt not effecting Dimmesdale yet, Hawthorne makes it seem that Dimmesdale is emotionally or socially not prepared for the truth to get out anytime soon. Dimmesdale is now at a very low point in his life by the second scaffold scene and has been experiencing serious guilt and begun to start abusing himself. During this point he decides late one night to go stand on the scaffold that Hester and Pearl once had. The second scaffold scene begins when Hester and Pearl happen to pass by Dimmesdale and decide to join him on the scaffold. This scaffold scene was the climax of the story because it was a major turning point for Dimmesdale’s character development. Unlike the first scaffold scene Dimmesdale is now socially, physically, and emotionally equal with Hester and Pearl as they all stand on the scaffold together. The scene is a step forward for Dimmesdale as he is more willing for the truth to get out and his repentance to be served. Though he's moving a step closer, Dimmesdale is not fully prepared. We know this because not only is the scene in the middle of night while no townspeople are there, but Hawthorne writes a conversation where Pearl confronts Dimmesdale and asks “Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide?” , but Dimmesdale responds “Not so, my child. I shall, indeed, stand with thy mother and thee one other day, but not to-morrow!” (Page 143). This conversation is makes it evident that

Get Access