The Scarlet Letter Scaffold Essay Research Paper

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The Scarlet Letter Scaffold Essay, Research Paper The Centering Link Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, centers its plot, setting, and characters around the unifying scaffold. With each encounter at the scaffold, the four main characters, Hester, Pearl, Rev. Dimmesdale, and Mr. Chillingworth, become more emotionally connected to one another. Each of the three meetings symbolizes a major turning point in the novel where a sin is confessed and/or developed. All four main characters interact together only at the scaffold. During the first scaffold scene, Hester climbs the scaffold to display her scarlet letter ?A? to the public. The townspeople become aware of her sin of adultery, and view her differently after this event. In the second scene, Reverend Dimmesdale climbs

the scaffold to confess his sin during the night, and Hester and Pearl join him. “God flashes” a great letter ?A? in the sky to show his disapproval toward the Reverend?s overall behavior. The third and final scaffold scene sends the Reverend to heaven and leaves Hester and Pearl on earth to grieve. Reverend Dimmesdale uses his final spark of energy to confess to the townspeople his sin that hid deep in his soul. Mr. Chillingworth watches Hester, Pearl, and Reverend Dimmesdale in each scene with disbelief. Major changes occur on the scaffold that signify a turning point in each character as well as the entirety of the novel. Overall, the scaffold symbolizes shame, confession, and death. After the first time Hester climbs the scaffold, the townspeople shun her from their town.

Hester forcefully confesses her sin by flashing her scarlet letter “A,” and Rev. Dimmesdale confesses his sin by telling the townspeople the truth about himself. The deaths of Governor Winthrop and Rev. Dimmesdale both occur during confessions on the scaffold. All major turning points for the main characters occur here. The four characters unite at the scaffold bearing many similarities throughout each confrontation. Hester and Pearl always attach to one another while on the scaffold. Hester holds Pearl’s body or her hand so that she is close to the one thing she has. From the first scaffold scene to the last, Rev. Dimmesdale always holds his heart with his hand to show his weak and troubled soul. Mr. Chillingworth takes full advantage of the Reverend’s weakness and makes

it his mission to ruin Rev. Dimmesdale’s life. During each scaffold scene, Mr. Chillingworth always looks up from the ground at the three atop the wooden structure. He never likes what he sees. Mr. Chillingworth changes with each scene as well as the other characters. During the first scaffold scene, Hester confesses her sin to the town. She displays herself for everyone to judge. Before she climbs the scaffold, Hester seems grim and weak because of being in jail. However, by displaying her beautifully embroidered “A”, Hester proves her strength to everyone judging her. Everyone in the town still shuns Hester from their society even though she demonstrated great strength. Up until Hester’s display, Pearl lives as an innocent baby and after it, she symbolizes a living sin.

Rev. Dimmesdale stands with his clergymen above Hester and Pearl. He interrogates Hester as to who fathers Pearl, but realizes Hester’s strength by her refusal to expose his name. This scene changes Dimmesdale because he feels incredibly guilty for forcing Hester to deal with the shame and burden alone. He demonstrates his shame and grief by clutching his chest with his hand, a reflex that occurs more frequently as the novel progresses. Mr. Chillingworth eyes Hester and the Reverend from afar and below. He arrives in the new world hoping to finally see his wife after two years apart, only he finds her with her baby that obviously did not come from him. After this encounter he makes it his sole mission to ruin the life of the baby’s father. In this first scene, all four