The scaffold is no longer a site of punishment but an agent of purification. It was meant, doubtless, as the mother herself hath told us, for retribution too; a torture to be felt as many an unthought-of moment; a pang, a sting, an ever-recurring agony, in the midst of a troubled joy! Although there are many symbols in… 1087 Words 5 Pages Paige Davis Mrs. Thus, the scaffold retains its role as the site of punishment and shaming, but it has also begun to transform into a site of redemption. Dimmesdale, on the very day when Hester Prynne first wore her ignominious badge, had begun a course of penance, - which he afterwards, in so many futile methods, followed out, - by inflicting a hideous torture on himself. He tries to prevent the minister from mounting the scaffold. In the first scaffold scene Hester Prynne is depicted standing alone while clutching her baby. As he nears the scaffold, he calls for Hester and Pearl to help him up the stairs and asks them once again to stand beside him.
Most importantly, Dimmesdale chooses to expose his sin at night when no one can see. This is by the way a divine mission, as the discourse that Surveyor Pue pronounces from his grave underlines 33-34. She has… 1252 Words 6 Pages Symbolism can be defined as a figure, character, or object that is used to represent complex or abstract ideas. Hester had such strong love that she would not make Dimmesdale go through what she was going through. There are three such scenes, and they come at the beginning, middle and end of the story. In the first scaffold scene Hester Prynne is depicted standing alone while clutching her baby.
In this case, the criminal is Hester Prynne and the crowd has gathered to witness her shame. The first scaffold scene begins the novel. In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, it is most often a tangible object he uses to represent an undefined idea, complex in scope and significance. Two important people in the crowd are Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale. He cries out in physical and mental pain. Hawthorne adds in a variety of symbols that seem to emphasize the guilt causing Dimmesdale to internally writhe in pain.
The second scaffold scene occurs right in the middle of the narrative when Arthur Dimmesdale mounts the platform in a half-hearted attempt to confess his sin. But he also triumphs over the evil that has overwhelmed him as he publicly confesses his part in Pearl's birth. In this powerful scene , Dimmesdale regains his soul, Pearl gains her humanity, Chillingworth loses his victim and Hester loses her dreams. Sooner or later, he must needs be mine! Here the scaffold represents her unwillingness to accept her sin. Interpretation of the symbol by the reader The symbol has the capacity to convey impressions, but the importance of the social context is prominent in interpreting this impression. It is Election Day and Dimmesdale has delivered his most powerful sermon ever. I profess, I have never seen the like, since my days of vanity, in old King James' time, when I was wont to esteem it a high favor to be admitted to a court mask! The main characters transform the scaffold from the exposition to resolution.
The third and final scaffold scene illustrates Dimmesdales full repentance of his sin, thus casting change upon all of the main characters. His shriek awakens Governor Bellingham and Mistress Hlibbins, but neither of them sees him on the scaffold. As a consequence of such a use of symbols, no definite truth can be established, and truth itself becomes an uncertain concept. This voluntary confession makes this time unique. Hester is punished to wear the scarlet letter A, which stands for Adultery, on her breast.
Many years later, in desperation for a remedy to cure his tortured soul, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale takes to the scaffold where Hester had once suffered her shame. He makes eye contact with Hester at one point and signals her to keep his anonymity by casting his finger over his lips. He apparently wills his own death, thereby breaking away from Puritan morals. Realizing the mockery of his being able to stand there now, safe and unseen, where he should have stood seven years ago before the townspeople, Dimmesdale is overcome by a self-hatred so terrible that it causes him to cry aloud into the night. The figure does not appeal to sensitivity, and emotions are not part of the understanding process. A group of women have already spoken to one another about the repentance of the punishment awarded to Hester Prynne.
Pearl repeatedly asks Dimmesdale if he will join her and her mother tomorrow on the scaffold at noon, in the bright sunlight of the bustling town square. . He exclaims how he wants to stand on the scaffold until the morning sun lightens the sky, but cannot because of the cold evening air irritating his arthritis and turning his throat raw. The scaffold has brought them to a new understanding of morality. There used to be a swarm of these small apparitions, in holiday time; and we called them children of the Lord of Misrule, but how gat such a guest into my hall? Notably, she does not go to England, which is the society against which the Puritans define themselves. What the author suggests concerning the interpretation of signs by the various characters within the narrative can also be applied to Hawthorne's readers.
By beginning with the first, continuing with the middle, and ending with the last platform scene, we can gain a better understanding of this masterpiece. These scenes highlight the tension between the principal characters of the novel. When Hester; her lover, Reverend Dimmesdale; and their daughter, Pearl, stand together on the scaffold at midnight, the scaffold becomes a symbolic wedding altar. She is humbled; yet she also begins to discover a strength that she never imagined. Here also the scarlet letter dominates the proceedings. Yadira Medina and Lyn Batchelor In the first scaffold scene, Hester Pryne is punished by revealing her scarlet letter.