Plot Summary of The “Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Aug 22


Luka Malgaj

Luka Malgaj

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The Scarlet Letter is a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the . It is considered his magnum opus, set in 17th-century Puritan Boston society, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.

Hester Prynne is condenned to wear the scarlet embroidered letter A on her breast,Plot Summary of The “Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Articles as punishment for her adultery. She resists all attempts of the 17th century Boston clergy to make her reveal the name of her child’s father. Her husband, and old physician who had remained in Europe, arrives in America to see her on the pillory. Assuming the name of Roger Chillingworth, he seeks revenge. Soon correctly suspecting the respected young minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, he consatntly torments him without revealing the full extent of his knowledge.

Pearl, the elfin child is the constant trial to her mother; perverse, wild, an‘outcast of infantile world’, she is the brilliant product of sin.

Chillingworth succeeds in frustrating the escape of Hester, Arthur and Perl. In the final scene, the minister mounts the pillory with Hester and their child, revealing his guilt and the scarlet letter that remourse had etched on his breast. By this act he finally escapes Chillingworth ‘s Satanic power, and dies in Hester’s arms. The child, transfigured by the sorrowful scene, sheds tears for the first time. Kissing her father, she gives proof of her humanity.

The book treats Hawthorne’s favourite themes. First, all men are guilty of secret sin. Second;ly, greater than Dimmendale’s is Chillingworth’s sin, for he has invaded the sanctity of another soul.