Scarlet Letter: Symbolism Of The Scaffold

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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Through out the novel The Scarlet Letter there is an object and/or place that continues to show up from the very beginning, half way through into the climax of the story and then finally at the end of the story when mystery's are solved and all is revealed.

The first time in the novel that we see the scaffold is when Hester Prynne is first introduced to us in the book. The scaffold was used as something for her to stand on and receive her punishment for adultery among other men in the town. The scaffold was also used as the punishment for Hester, when she was sentenced to stand on the scaffold for the long hours.

The second time we see the scaffold in this novel is when Rev. Dimmesdale is driven mad by the thought of his sins, his true feelings for Hester and the mark he made upon his chest.

Then when revealing the mark of an A upon his chest, Dimmesdale is joined upon the scaffold by Hester and Pearl. There they stood as a unity of truth and hapiness, yet and the same time the Rev. Dimmesdale could never reveal the truth about his relationship with Hester and the truth about the father of Pearl, inwhich it was Dimmesdale himself.

The third and final time we see the scaffold is after the new governor is sworn in in front of the people of the town, and there is a parade going through the town containing and head official, including Dimmesdale. Out of nowhere Dimmesdale is approached by Pearl where she asks if he will recognizer her as is daughter. That is when Dimmesdale calls upon Hester to help him upon the scaffold, then there stands Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale upon the scaffold again united as a family. There Dimmesdale confesses to the crowd and the rest of the village that he was the one to bear the child Pearl with Hester Prynne and that he was truley in love with her. He said all of this right before slowly dieing on the scaffold in front of Hester, Pearl, the townspeople and Roger Chillingworth himself, who felt that after Dimmesdale confessed his true feelings there was no reason to be in town anymore.