The Scarlett Letter
Hester Prynne finds herself a victim of an immorality case. The punishment is nothing less of facing the scarlet. Prynne’s punishment comprises exposure to the entire Puritans. The Boston women remain angered by Prynne’s dignity and beauty altogether, to be worth such a violation. They command her to name the man responsible for her child, to no avail. Her long lost husband at a sea voyage sadly learns of Prynne’s act from an enthusiastic man in the crowd. He trembles with anger, swearing to revenge on the man responsible. He takes an undercover Roger chillingworth name and becomes a physician who then endorses in calming her wife and the little one with local herbs and roots. He now gets the long awaited opportunity and personally questions his wife on her immoral act.
Hester never opens her secret to his husband who then disowns her and warns her on ever relating to him, of which he promises to kill the very lover she was protecting. Hester completes her charge, finds a job in needlework and settles with her daughter pearl. They both lead a somber, quiet life. Year’s later pearl develops an unlikely unruly and capricious character that creates the church’s attention. She finds refuge at reverend Dimmesdale who’s health begins to deteriorate and the community elects Chillingworth as a replacement for the town’s physician. In his endeavors at work, he discovers the reason behind the reverend’s illness. The reverend suffers from conscience guilt and at the middle of the night leaves for the very square Hester faced punishment. Pearl and her mother coincidentally join him, where he admits his guilt but obviously at the absence of the public. Even at Hester’s request, he strongly refuses to have the remorseful act done during the day at the public’s presence…
Dimmesdale completes the puzzle;we learn that he is the man behind hester’s ordeal. It is ironic, that a church leader like him, one that is supposed to be against social immoralities like adultery, is actually the cause of what he should be strongly opposing. Hester has to face humiliation for her to protect him from the grater humiliation he had caused. The fact that his sins follow him in terms of disease and insecurity, are actually a form of punishment for his mistakes.
Dimmesdale is a renowned reverend in puritan. The fact that he is a symbolic icon on not only religion but also political leadership makes his adulterous act a very serious offence. He depicts the situational irony existent in the then society and its direct administration. Never the less, he is a pervert in the sense that he lets Hester suffer for their mistake while he is at the comfort of his residence. The fact that his actions are un-expected by the society explain why he is adamant on keeping his actions a secret.
Nature however takes its course and the child he bears with Hester follows suit and develops to an abnormal child. Since he is in charge of the church and is defiantly aware of her daughter’s consequence, Dimmesdale quickly convinces the governor to let Hester and pearl take refuge at their care. Woe unto him, his initial immoral actions follows and he becomes ill, only for Chillingworth to manipulate him to his ultimate end. This piece of literature is a good example of the irony existent in most societies; our leaders are actually the criminals, yet they are quick in shunning the weak on much less mistakes compared to theirs.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Scarlet Letter.” Cliffnotes (2012): P.p1-3.