Scarlet letter Symbolism and Characterization

John, Doug, Corey

In the scarlet letter the scaffold has a large quantity of symbolism endowed to it. Not only is the scaffold the centerpeice of three moving scenes, it is a symbol reminding the adulterers of their sin. The final nail in the coffin is that it happens to be oddly close to Dimmsdales house. Having such a martyr for sin next to his house must have had a giant effect on his ever declining health. Even though Chillingworths poison was the main factor, I do beleive that this psychological bombardment had a lasting mark. Dimmsdale, eventhough a sinner, was probably the most assaulted man in this book. Everywhere he went he had to be reminded of what he had done, from the tapestry in his house, to seeing the scaffold walking out of his home every morning, to seeing Pearl, it was all constant abuse.

In amist of the scaffold, Chillingworth is perpetually evil. He is described on many occasion as the devil, or a large symbol of evil. We beleive that in this book he is the evil hand, and Pearl is the righteous hand. Even though Pearl is often described as an imp child, she brings the idea of confessing the sin into a reality and in the end rewards Dimmsdale for this. Pearl being evil is in our opinion, a misunderstanding.

The scene where black weeds and flowers are flowing from a grave is explained a sinner that died without revealing his or her sin. This plot is somewhat powerful, its an example of what would happen to Dimmsdale if he did not unsheath his wrongdoing. This worried him because he valued his reputation over everything else. In the end we beleive that Dimmsdale revealed his sin, not for his love of Hester, but for his reputation and the preservation of it in the afterlife.