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Themes And Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Decent Essays
“The same platform or scaffold, black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years.” (Hawthorne p.99). In most novels, symbols are introduced to the readers often through prevalent attributes. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many people, places, and objects that hold a more complex meaning than it’s shown to be. This novel, containing shame, secrets, and ultimately retribution is shown with many characters and situations. These symbolic ideas are used throughout The Scarlet Letter to bring deep connections between the characters and the story. The symbols usually appear to have a literal or vague meaning to them throughout the story, yet they can be key details that change in meaning as the…show more content…
These quotes show how the scaffold is no longer a place of public shame and punishment, but a place of cowardly confession of your sins. Dimmesdale in secret goes to the scaffold to confess in private the sin he has commented, while everyone is asleep and can’t hear him confess. Lastly in the novel, the scaffold’s meaning changes yet again through Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale’s latest actions after they leave the church. Ultimately, in chapter 23, the meaning of the scaffold changes for the last time in The Scarlet Letter. The final scaffold scene in some ways resembles the first. Once again, all the major characters meet in the marketplace in full daylight. As Dimmesdale sees Hester, and Pearl beside the ‘scaffold of pillory”, Hawthorne states “ And now, almost imperceptible as were the latter steps of his progress, he had come opposite the well-remembered and weather-darkened scaffold, where, long since, with all that dreary lapse of time between, Hester Prynne had encountered the world’s ignominious stare.” (Hawthorne p.206). Arthur Dimmesdale later states “In the name of Him, so terrible and so merciful, who gives me grace, at this last moment, to do what for my own heavy sin and miserable agony I withheld myself from doing seven years ago.” and “He turned
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