A 19th Century Crucifixion

Scarlet Letter Scaffold

A depiction of Hester on the scaffold

The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most recognizable scenes from the Bible. Even those not familiar with religion are still familiar with the symbol of the cross.

Hester Prynne is by no means a martyr like Christ but she does radicalize 19th century America by criticizing 17th century Puritan Boston. Nathaniel Hawthorne crucifies Hester in his book, The Scarlet Letter, by putting her on the scaffold in front of the whole town similar to Jesus on the cross. Hawthorne does this to further reinforce Hester as a Christ figure in the story. By doing so he is able to relate her character to a feeling of redemption as well as help the reader understand the sacrifices she goes through. This is also done in an ironic way because Hawthorne is criticizing the Puritans by showing how they treated a Jesus like character in their time period.

Much like for Jesus, this is a test of Hester’s ability to stay true to her beliefs regardless of the shaming she receives from society. Also by wearing the “A” she is constantly reminded of her sin, much like Jesus when he was forced to carry his cross on his back.

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This entry was posted in AP Mindset, Biblical Allusions, Crucifixion, English III Honors, Honors English III, Religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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