The Scarlet Letter

Title: The Scarlet Letter

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Characters:

Hester Prynne – the novel’s protagonist, she wears the scarlet letter, married Chillingworth, had an affair with Dimmesdale, endured a lot of humiliation and scorn, very alienated from society

Pearl – Hester’s illegitimate daughter, townspeople spread rumors that her unknown father is the Devil, she is much more wise than other children her age

Roger Chillingworth – Hester’s husband in disguise, decides to get revenge on her for having an affair with Dimmesdale, he is a scholar and disguises himself as a doctor

Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale – Hester’s lover, the father of Pearl, punishes himself physically and psychologically for having an affair with Hester, there is huge controversy with him being a reverend in a congregation and committing the huge sin of adultery

Governor Bellingham – resembles a traditional English aristocrat, remains blind to the fact that his sister is a witch

Mistriss Hibbins – a widow who lives with her brother Governor Bellingham, known to be a witch who strolls into the forest at night to meet up with the “Black Man,” she reminds the reader of hypocrisy and evil in the Puritan society

Reverend Mr. John Wilson – a stereotypical Puritan father, strictly follows community rules, but can be swayed by Dimmesdale’s eloquence, preaches hellfire and damnation and advocates harsh punishment of sinners

Motifs, Themes, and Symbols:

Sin

The Nature of Evil

Identity and Society

Civilization Vs. Wilderness

Night Vs. Day

The Scarlet Letter

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