Characteristic of Mistriss Hibbons in "The Scarlet Letter" by Nahaniel Hawthorne

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, October 1996

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Evil can be defined as, 'That which is the reverse of good, physically or morally; whatever is censurable painful, disastrous, or undesirable.' In the novel

'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mistriss Hibbins can also be defined in those terms. She is believed to be evil by many of the characters. Henry Louis Mencken once said, 'It is a sin to believe evil of others, but is seldom a mistake.' In this novel he was right, Mistriss Hibbins is evil. However, she is an important character who appears more often than most people realize and her evilness has a serious impact on most of the characters.

Mistriss Hibbins represents evil in the novel. She was accused of being a witch. This is a very evil thing in the eyes of the Puritans. Mistriss Hibbins can also be said to be evil simply because she is always in the forest, which is an evil place.

She is said to go on 'night rides' and attend witch meetings there. 'And Mistriss Hibbins, with some twigs of the forest clinging to her skirts, and looking sourer than ever, as having hardly got a wink of sleep after her night ride.'

The people in town are scared to even be near Mistriss Hibbins. At the last scaffold scene, 'The crowd gave way before her, and seemed to fear the touch of her garment, as if it carried the plague among its gorgeous folds.' Here, it says that the townspeople were so scared, that they thought her evil was contagious.

Mistriss Hibbins also effects the way some of the characters think in the novel. In one part of the novel, Mistriss Hibbins tells Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne, that Dimmesdale, who is her father, is the 'Prince of Air'. 'They say, child,