This is an analysis of the meaning and significance of the first two scaffold scenes in The Scarlet Letter.

Essay by canflhsHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2004

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In chapter 12, the second of three scaffold scenes occurs. The chapter is very important to the Dimmesdale-Hester storyline because of a significant amount of foreshadowing. The scaffold scenes provide deep insight to Dimmesdale's state of mind. Dimmesdale is anxious, worried, and confused throughout the second half of the book. He is worried that townspeople will find out he is Pearl's father and perhaps lose faith in the church, but at the same time he seems anxious to get it out in the open. Dimmesdale really seems confused because he gets up on the scaffold late at night and starts screaming to bring in the town but once they get there he stops his plans to tell them his secret. All of his thoughts about the benefits and pitfalls of telling people seem to be confusing him. The amount of effectiveness of him being on the scaffold doesn't appear to be very large because he gets off without telling the town.

One minor similarity between the scenes is that the whole town is watching but in different ways. Another similarity is that the season that the scenes takes place is about the same. At the beginning of chapter 2, the narrator says, ."..on the summer morning when our story begins its course..." (47-48), and the second scaffold scene takes place in early May. A reference to Dimmesdale's character also occurs in both scaffold scenes. In both scenes it seems as if Dimmesdale wants to say that he's the father of Pearl but he is too much of a coward to do it in public. Even though he is a coward, it has a lot to do with Chillingworth. Once Chillingworth appears in the second scaffold scene, Dimmesdale is scared and is muted by his presence. Dimmesdale asks, ""Who is...