15 November 2018
Hester Prynne Character Analysis
Hester Prynne, a terrible sin and get put in prison, standing in front of everybody in the town being ridiculed. All while the person that committed the same sin is in the crowd and not with you. That would be the perspective of Hester Prynne, a character in The Scarlet Letter. Arthur Dimmesdale, the reverend of the town, did not get punished for the same adultery charge. Prynne wears scarlet letter as a reminder of the sin she has committed although that same letter humbles her and makes her a better person. That’s why Hester Prynne is the most evolved character throughout the book The Scarlet Letter.
In the second chapter titled The Market-Place is when we are greeted with Hester Prynne. She is holding a child that was born in the prison Prynne had become accustomed to due to the sin she had committed. Along with the child she held in her arms she had the letter A on her gown. Sown in Hawthorne’s words “so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy” (40) with scarlet red cloth and gold thread. Then we are given more details on what Hester looks like, “The young woman was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance on a large scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam; and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes.” (40) Hester is forced to make her way to the scaffolding which is just a raised platform for the world to see her and her scarlet letter. As she is walking though she has flashbacks to her early life where she sees her parents and a “man well stricken in years, a pale, thin, scholar-like visage.” (44) This we find out is her husband whom she followed to continental Europe and with promises that he would follow Hester had moved to America. When upon the scaffolding Hester spots a man in Native American dress that she recognizes as her husband as she stands there being stared at by the townspeople.
Fast forward a couple years and we know see Hester in a cottage on the outskirts of town as she has been removed from society. Hester is also very open about the scarlet letter and the sin she had committed. The infant she held in her arms has grown up a bit and was named Pearl she named so “as being of great price, -purchased with all she had, -her mother’s only treasure!” (67) Hester was known for her needle work and that is what kept her and Pearl financially afloat. It is also because of this she goes to the Mansion of Governor Bellingham with gloves she sowed for him but also for the intent of getting answer on whether or not her child will be taken away from her. Upon going inside of the mansion Bellingham, Mr. Wilson, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale enter the room and start to make fun of the mother and child. Roger Chillingworth, we find out is Hester’s husband in disguise to be a doctor to Arthur Dimmesdale. Pearl takes fondly to Mr. Dimmesdale which causes suspicion. They decide that it would be wrong for Pearl to be taken from her mother. Hester will not tell anyone the man of the affair, so Chillingworth decides to snoop around. Later on, in Chapter 10 we find Pearl in the graveyard hooking burrs onto the scarlet letter on Hester’s chest. Pearl notices Chillingworth questioning Dimmesdale about confessing sins she takes Hester and says that the Black Man has already gotten Dimmesdale (referring to the devil) and that they won’t get Pearl and Hester. This causes Chillingworth to question Dimmesdale about his “unconfessed sins.” Throughout the next few chapters we find that Chillingworth is looking for revenge by torturing Dimmesdale to the point where he causes self-harm and climbs the scaffolding Hester was previously on years back. Hester however does not approve of this revenge from Chillingworth and tries to make him stop.
In Chapter 13 Pearl is now seven years old. Hester has started to be more active in the society she had previously been shunned from. She takes food to the doors of the poor and she helps the sick. She is still frequently made fun of, but some of the townspeople think of the A on her chest as “Able, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” (124) Hester has become more engaged in thinking about how something is off or wrong with Pearl and about keeping Roger Chillingworth’s real identity a secret could be hurting Dimmesdale. Hester later confronts Chillingworth and asks him to tell the people his real identity, but Chillingworth says that he will not. Hester says to herself that she hates her husband which is a sin in this society. She says that any love that she may of felt toward Mr. Chillingworth was an allusion. Through this we can see that Hester is starting to hate her husband and like Dimmesdale a lot more. This liking of Dimmesdale leads to chapter 17 where Hester confesses Chillingworth’s identity along with her love for Dimmesdale. She proposes that they must escape to England to live their lives as a family with Pearl.