Generally speaking, a symbol is something used to stand for something else. In literature, a symbol is most often a concrete object used to represent an idea more abstract and broader in scope and meaning — often a moral, religious, or philosophical concept or value.
Generally speaking, a symbol is something used to stand for something else.
In literature, a symbol is most often a concrete object used to represent an idea more abstract and broader in scope and meaning — often a moral, religious, or philosophical concept or value. An allegory in literature is a story where characters, objects, and events have a hidden meaning and are used to present some universal lesson.
Hawthorne has a perfect atmosphere for the symbols in The Scarlet Letter because the Puritans saw the world through allegory. For them, simple patterns, like the meteor streaking through the sky, became religious or moral interpretations for human events.
Objects, such as the scaffold, were ritualistic symbols for such concepts as sin and penitence. Whereas the Puritans translated such rituals into moral and repressive exercises, Hawthorne turns their interpretations around in The Scarlet Letter.
The Puritan community sees Hester as a fallen woman, Dimmesdale as a saint, and would have seen the disguised Chillingworth as a victim — a husband betrayed.
Instead, Hawthorne ultimately presents Hester as a woman who represents a sensitive human being with a heart and emotions; Dimmesdale as a minister who is not very saint-like in private but, instead, morally weak and unable to confess his hidden sin; and Chillingworth as a husband who is the worst possible offender of humanity and single-mindedly pursuing an evil goal.
Thus, using his characters as symbols, Hawthorne discloses the grim underside of Puritanism that lurks beneath the public piety.
Examples of static symbols are the Reverend Mr. Wilson, who represents the Church, or Governor Bellingham, who represents the State. His characters, the scarlet A, light and darkness, color imagery, and the settings of forest and village serve symbolic purposes.
Characters Hester is the public sinner who demonstrates the effect of punishment on sensitivity and human nature. She is seen as a fallen woman, a culprit who deserves the ignominy of her immoral choice.
The paradox is that the Puritans stigmatize her with the mark of sin and, in so doing, reduce her to a dull, lifeless woman whose characteristic color is gray and whose vitality and femininity are suppressed.
When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, "The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Often human beings who suffer great loss and life-changing experiences become survivors with an increased understanding and sympathy for the human losses of others.
Hester is such a symbol.
Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is the secret sinner whose public and private faces are opposites. Even as the beadle — an obvious symbol of the righteous Colony of Massachusetts — proclaims that the settlement is a place where "iniquity is dragged out into the sunshine," the colony, along with the Reverend Mr.
Inside the good minister, however, is a storm raging between holiness and self-torture. He is unable to reveal his sin. At worst, Dimmesdale is a symbol of hypocrisy and self-centered intellectualism; he knows what is right but has not the courage to make himself do the public act.
When Hester tells him that the ship for Europe leaves in four days, he is delighted with the timing. He will be able to give his Election Sermon and "fulfill his public duties" before escaping. He realizes the scaffold is the place to confess and also his shelter from his tormenter, Chillingworth.
Yet, the very thing that makes Dimmesdale a symbol of the secret sinner is also what redeems him. Sin and its acknowledgment humanize Dimmesdale. As a symbol, he represents the secret sinner who fights the good fight in his soul and eventually wins. Pearl is the strongest of these allegorical images because she is nearly all symbol, little reality.
As Hester tells the pious community leaders in Chapter 8, ". See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for my sin?
She is natural law unleashed, the freedom of the unrestrained wilderness, the result of repressed passion. When Hester meets Dimmesdale in the forest, Pearl is reluctant to come across the brook to see them because they represent the Puritan society in which she has no happy role.
Here in the forest, she is free and in harmony with nature. He often uses a mirror to symbolize the imagination of the artist; Pearl is a product of that imagination.
When Dimmesdale confesses his sin in the light of the sun, Pearl is free to become a human being.Rhetorical Analysis Essay: The Scarlet Letter ‘ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.
In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main character Hester Prynne was an adulteress in the seventeenth century during the Puritan era.
The Scarlet Letter Analysis Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. (It was rough going for the time, too; check out a book like Charles Dic What’s Up With the Title?
Back in the day (colonial times, that is), law and religion were inseparable, like peanut butter and jelly. When a woman cheated on her husband—even if that husband had been. A summary of Themes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Hawthorne vividly makes use of symbolism and feminine status in Puritan New England, giving The Scarlet Letter a complex plot. American transcendentalist Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, in Salem, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Manning and Nathaniel Hathorne (Stewart 2).
The Scarlet Letter Analysis Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. (It was rough going for the time, too; check out a book like Charles Dic What’s Up With the Title? Back in the day (colonial times, that is), law and religion were inseparable, like peanut butter and jelly.
When a woman cheated on her husband—even if that husband had been. The Scarlet Letter The Puritans mean for the scarlet letter to be a symbol of Hester 's shame.
But the narrator describes the letter as a "mystic symbol" that means many things.