Scarlet Letter Essay: Hester's Hazardous Hait

Words: 552
Pages: 3

Hester's Hazardous Habit
Hester Prynne, in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is heavily critiqued by exalted English novelist, D.H. Lawrence. Hawthorne's ideology is attacked by Lawrence for presenting Hester as the story's victim. Lawrence makes it very clear that Hester is not to be praised, but frowned upon because of her act of adultery. Lawrence perspective is communicated very effectively through the multiple clever uses of relevant allusion, criticising tone, and unique syntax.
Lawrence use of astute allusions helps deliver his viewpoint on Hester. The multiple biblical allusions develop a better understanding of Hester through scenarios that everyone knows. Lawrence associates her with sinful figures, like declaring Hester “brought him down [Dimmesdale], humbly wipes off the mud with your hair, another Magdalen” (Lawrence). This, of course, refers to Mary Magdalene, the notorious sinner who was possessed by seven devils, and infamous for promiscuous behavior. Even more subtle was
…show more content…
Throughout the book, Hester is viewed as a heroine, who deserves remorse. It overlooks the severity of adultery, resulting in Lawrence taking many jabs at Hawthorne, announcing things like, “the greatest triumph a woman can have, especially an American woman, is the triumph of seducing a man: especially if he is pure.” (Lawrence). This phrase makes fun of the tone in the book which seems to look upon adultery and glorify it, making Hester an idol. Lawrence uses irony in some lines, for example, “This time, it is Mr. Dimmesdale who dies. She lives on and is Abel” (Lawrence). Abel here is a play on words, meaning able, and an allusion to the Bible story, Cain and Abel. The irony of the story is that Abel is the one who is murdered, but instead, Hester lives and Dimmesdale dies. Even so, Hester is ultimately portrayed as the victim of the