Public Penitence in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Novel, The Scarlet Letter
Public penitence is
no longer trusted as punishment in the current western society.
However, back Puritan society, it had been in a few ways considered
worse than loss of life. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the
criminals of regulations become it governmental or spiritual, were taken in
sight of most onto the scaffold to publicly screen their wrongdoing.
Merely as the scaffold may be the center of the city, additionally it is the center
of the account. The scenes that happen at the scaffold will be the most
important situations in the account; they establish the surroundings for the
story and so are pivotal to the plot.
The first actions at
the scaffold can be in chapter two; this models the backdrop for the
whole novel. At the start of the chapter, we start to see the Puritan
society standing, looking forward to Hester Prynne to emerge from the jail
and make her visit to the scaffold. The coarseness of the society is
illustrated by this picture, where Hester's fellow citizens are
awaiting her. Some of the women of all ages are discussing their disagreement
with her punishment, one expressing, "'this woman has taken shame
upon people, and must die'" (49). These gossiping women,
despite their small functions, inform the readers of the overall Puritan
belief of regulation and order. This picture explains Hester Prynne's humble
position in the contemporary society and graphically describes the humiliation she
suffers. As Hester is always on the scaffold her partner, Roger
Chillingworth, and her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, are standing up nearby.
Through this picture, Hawthorne hints to us they are very
important characters, and you will be developed throughout the