But many of Hawthorne's symbols change — particularly his characters — depending on their treatment by the community and their reactions to their sins.His characters, the scarlet A, light and darkness, color imagery, and the settings of forest and village serve symbolic purposes.
The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread." In time, even the Puritan community sees the letter as meaning "Able" or "Angel." Her sensitivity with society's victims turns her symbolic meaning from a person whose life was originally twisted and repressed to a strong and sensitive woman with respect for the humanity of others.
In her final years, "the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world's scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence, too." Since her character is strongly tied to the scarlet letter, Hester represents the public sinner who changes and learns from her own sorrow to understand the humanity of others.
He realizes the scaffold is the place to confess and also his shelter from his tormenter, Chillingworth.
Yet, the very thing that makes Dimmesdale a symbol of the secret sinner is also what redeems him. When he leaves the forest and realizes the extent of the devil's grip on his soul, he passionately writes his sermon and makes his decision to confess. See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for my sin?
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Learn with extra-efficient algorithm, developed by our team, to save your time.At best, his public piety is a disdainful act when he worries that his congregation will see his features in Pearl's face.Dimmesdale's inner struggle is intense, and he struggles to do the right thing.For them, simple patterns, like the meteor streaking through the sky, became religious or moral interpretations for human events.Objects, such as the scaffold, were ritualistic symbols for such concepts as sin and penitence.Thus, using his characters as symbols, Hawthorne discloses the grim underside of Puritanism that lurks beneath the public piety.Some of Hawthorne's symbols change their meaning, depending on the context, and some are static. Wilson, who represents the Church, or Governor Bellingham, who represents the State.Over the seven years of her punishment, Hester's inner struggle changes from a victim of Puritan branding to a decisive woman in tune with human nature.When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, "The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free.Dimmesdale sees Pearl as the "freedom of a broken law"; Hester sees her as "the living hieroglyphic" of their sin; and the community sees her as the result of the devil's work. When Hester meets Dimmesdale in the forest, Pearl is reluctant to come across the brook to see them because they represent the Puritan society in which she has no happy role.She is the scarlet letter in the flesh, a reminder of Hester's sin. Here in the forest, she is free and in harmony with nature.