Who should punish a sinner? Should it be religion, society, or the individual? In
Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter all three affect the main character Hester Prynne. Religion
punishes her with the Scarlet Letter, society ostracizes her as punishment, and individually
she was able to move on in life but still returned to her haunting past where she died.
Religion plays a big part in the Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne wore the Scarlet
Letter to remind her of the mistake ahe made. Instaed of taking Pearl away the people
wanted her to wear the 'A' for adultry. Hester brought up her child forcing the
the thought of the heavenily father. Hester's whole lifestyle was altered. She obeyed
everyone and for seven years was cursed by standing on the scaffold. The people's beliefs
strongly enforced the idea that Hester would wear the Scarlet Letter, so she did. It
constantly forced the tought of the sin she had commited and would haunt her for good.
'I have thought have death,' said she, - 'have wished for it, - would even have prayed for
it, were it fit that such as I should pray for anything.'
Society was an influence on the scarlet letter. People of the town believed that
Hester was a witch as well as sinner. Society ostracized her because no one in the town
had ever delt with any kind of sin as adultry so they looked at her as a witch. The people
in a way wanted to ruin her life because people actually thought she was bad. One of the
real canadites that wanted to ruin Hester was Mistress Hibbins.
Through out the whole story Mistress Hibbins constantly gives Hester her piece of mind.
'Thou thyself wilt see it, one time or another. They say, child, thou...