Scarlet Letter

This essay has a total of 699 words and 3 pages.

Scarlet Letter






For thousands of years, humans have confronted their sinfulness. Some trust in their
religious faith to help with their struggles, some sin more to hide the truth. But in the
end, man must stand alone - as a sinful creature before God. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The
Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale has a difficult time finding a place to relieve his sin. The
Scarlet Letter's scaffold is a place for the protagonist to find peace with himself. That
scaffold holds more importance than just somewhere to condemn prisoners. It is the one
place where Dimmesdale felt liberated to say anything he wishes. In Puritan culture, the
scaffold is used to humiliate and chastise prisoners, be it witches at the stake, thieves
in the stocks, or a murderer hanging from the gallows. In The Scarlet Letter, the scaffold
was viewed more as a place of judgement. "Meagre ... was the sympathy that a transgressor
might look for, from such bystanders, at the scaffold." (p. 63) Indeed, it was used for
castigation, but it was also a place of trial: Hester's trial was held at the scaffold.
Standing upon the platform opens oneself to God and to the world. "They stood in the noon
of that strange and solemn splendor, as if it were the light that is to reveal all
secrets, and the daybreak that shall unite all who belong to one another." (p. 186) Being
on the scaffold puts oneself in a feeling of spiritual nakedness- where you feel exposed
Continues for 2 more pages >>