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The symbolic scaffold scenes in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

There are townsfolk as well.

  1. Scaffold Scene 3 It comes almost at the end of the story. This time, although the townspeople are not present, they talk about the scarlet A in the sky throughout the next day.
  2. As though to taunt him, a great meteor burns through the dark sky, illuminating the scaffold, the street, and the houses.
  3. Hester and Pearl join Dimmesdale on the scaffold, the place where seven long years earlier "Hester Prynne had lived through her first hours of public ignominy.
  4. All alone in the world with Pearl, the symbol of her sin, she puts upon such an air of pride which conceals the torture she undergoes to a great extent. The chapter abounds in symbols.

Hester stands on the pillory alone with Pearl in her arms, a symbol of her crime of adultery, her personified 'Scarlet Letter'. There is Dimmesdale among other officials who represent the church-state. As a part of the crowd there is Dr. Prynne aka Roger Chillingworth.

The Scarlet Letter

This scene is specially significant because it sheds a good amount of light on Hester's nature. She bears her punishment with a haughty dignity.

  • As though to taunt him, a great meteor burns through the dark sky, illuminating the scaffold, the street, and the houses;
  • Hester stands alone with Pearl in her arms, a mere infant and sign of her sin.

All alone in the world with Pearl, the symbol of her sin, she puts upon such an air of pride which conceals the torture she undergoes to a great extent.

The main attention here is drawn upon the scarlet letter 'A'. Scaffold Scene 2 This comes precisely in the middle of the story. This occurs at midnight, while the other two happens at midday.

According to Hawthorne this is scene is a "vain show of expiation.

Standing on the pillory alone, he feels as if the whole world is looking at the scarlet letter over his heart. After a while when he asks Hester and Pearl to join him, he understands the vitality of a life other than his own standing with the other two.

But even at that time he is not brave enough which is why he becomes afraid at Perarl's suggestion to stand like this in the broad daylight.

A meteor similar to the letter 'A' lights up the sky then which can be interpreted in two ways. The townsfolk interpret it as 'Angel' thinking the recently dead good Governor Winthrop have been made an angel after his death.

On the other hand, this same 'A' appears to Dimmesdale as a symbol of his own guilt. This scene is also a moment of partial triumph for Chillingworth who is observing them with malevolence in his face and later takes Dimmesdale home with him.

Scaffold Scene 3 It comes almost at the end of the story.

  • On the other hand, this same 'A' appears to Dimmesdale as a symbol of his own guilt;
  • Meanwhile, a crowd of townspeople has gathered to watch her humiliation and hear a sermon;
  • Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, shares her platform but not her public humiliation.

This scene is dominated by Dimmesdale. This final scaffold scene reflects many symbols as before- the Church and the State, the world of evil, the scarlet letter, the scaffold itself, a kiss and death.