Essay on Scarlett Letter

Submitted By lindslally12
Words: 717
Pages: 3

Importance of the scaffold scenes – The Scarlet Letter

The scaffold scenes are by far the most popular means of pointing out the perfect balance and structure of Hawthorne’s masterpiece. The first time we meet all the characters of the novel is in the first scaffold scene. The second of three scaffold scenes appears in the middle of the novel. Again, Hawthorne gathers all of his major characters in one place. Hawthorne brings all the characters together one more time in the third and final scaffold scene. This scene begins with the triumph of Dimmesdale’s sermon and ends with his death. These scenes bring together the plot, themes, and symbols of the novel to a perfect balance. The basic structure for the novel is scene in scaffold scenes because everything else revolves around what happens during these scenes. The first scaffold scene focuses on Hester and the scarlet letter. Hester stands alone with Pearl in her arms, a infant and sign of her sin. Meanwhile, a crowd of townspeople has gathered to watch her humiliation and to hear a sermon. Two important people in the crowd our Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale. Chillingworth, Hester’s husband just returned from his long journey to America. Her “lover”, Dimmesdale, shares her platform as a sinner but not her public humiliation. Dimmesdale is present throughout the whole scene but he is very hesitant to admit that his is the secret lover, although Mr. Wilson is pestering him to find out who it is. He doesn’t admit because he is afraid if he does confess it will ruin his reputation as a person and as a minister. Chillingworth demands Hester to give him the name of her partner in crime but she does not. In this scene, we have Hester’s public humiliation, Dimmesdale’s reluctance to admit his own guilt, and the beginning of Chillingworth’s devilish plot to find and punish the father of Pearl. The second scaffold scene again provides a view of all the characters, a dramatic vision of the scarlet A. In the covering of darkness, Dimmesdale made his way to the scaffold to perform a silent vigil of his own. Dimmesdale is having a difficult time dealing with his own guilt, this is the reasoning for his late night stand on the scaffold. In his torture he suddenly cries out a shriek of agony that is heard by Hester and Pearl on their journey home from the dying bed of Governor Winthrop. After hearing this shriek both Hester and Pearl join Dimmesdale on the scaffold. Pearl then asks Dimmesdale if he will be joining her and Hester there at noontime on the next day. Hawthorne describes the situation as such, “And there stood the minister, with his hand over his heart; and Hester Prynne, with the embroidered letter glimmering on her bosom; and little Pearl, herself a symbol, and the connecting link between the two of them.”