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Transcript of SCARLET LETTER
Intolerance & Non-forgiveness
rda Erbil, S
hmed, Derek Liu, S
Time and Place For Everything
The scaffold in The Scarlet Letter is a place of public distain and humiliation. It shows unforgiveness because when Hester insults the communities morals by committing adultery, she is dishonered in front of the whole puritain community and never recovers her image in society again. It is ironic how the scaffold is supposed to initially be representation of shame and ridicule, but it is also acts as a location that somehow absolves Dimmesdale's sense of his sin. The scaffold presents a sense of calm to the reverend's soul.
The forest as a setting contributes to the tone because in a time where Dimmesdale is under a lot of stress he goes to the forest to find his peace of mind there. It represents peace and serenity for the first time in the story, during a time of chaos and disdain . Despite it being for a whole other purpose, Dimmesdale makes it into a sort of safe haven to get away from community's pandemonium.
Point of View & Narration
Significance of Narration
Many authors, including the likes of Nathaniel
Hawthorne, use "omniscient" narration; in which the narrator has an all knowing perspective on the story being told. The narrator evidently possesses even more information about the characters, than the characters have about themselves. This style of narration provides insight on the story's theme; which is evidently about non-forgiveness and socio-religious intolerance. The narration also allows for the reader to experience a myriad of characters' viewpoints, such as the perspectives of Dimmesdale, the Puritan society, Chillingworth, and Hester
Point Of View
As it is proven many times throughout the novel, Roger Chillingworth may be characterized as an antagonist. As the novel progresses, Chillingworth becomes less like an epitome of evil and more like a personification of eerie malevolence. His wicked essence spawns from the fact that he was betrayed by Hester Prynne earlier in the novel. Due to his ominous nature, Roger Chillingworth is a character that thematically exemplifies intolerance and non-forgiveness. He takes it upon himself to mentally (and maybe even physically) torture Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and his ex-wife Hester Prynne. His sinister and deceiving persona, as well as his physical deformities, also add to the theme and plot of the story.
The Puritan community upholds a set of Biblical laws, that Hester Prynne supposedly violates dues to her actions. The varying populace of Puritans occupying the Massachusetts Bay Colony, create the standpoint of Hester Prynne's pillory and derision. The myriad of Puritan characters, in The Scarlet Letter, allow the reader to identify the varying immoral methods in which they implement and follow laws. Based on quotations, stated by the Puritan goodwives, such as "At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead." and " I'll bestow a rag of mine own rheumatic flannel, to make a fitter one," exemplify the values of intolerance and non-forgiveness in the community. Conclusively, Puritans held each other to unattainable standards of behavior, meting out punishment instead of forgiveness, intolerance instead of understanding.
Hester is an example of a character that is effected by the occurrence of intolerance around her. Evidently, the Puritan townspeople are extremely parochial of her actions; the good wives of the town bigot Prynne by stating insults such as "hussy". The unforgiving nature of the Puritan society and it's ideals, sculpt Prynne into becoming more morally stronger. Furthermore, due to the fact that she is tolerant of the sin she had committed with Dimmesdale, she begins to partake in more charitable activities.
Dimmesdale's perspective possibly one of the most important in the story, since it exemplifies the story's theme. His sins are unforgiven, since there are no methods of atonement in the Puritan society. Dimmesdale must look for other ways to try and relieve himself of his terrible guilt. Though Chillingworth tries time and time again to get Dimmesdale to confess his evident sins, Dimmesdale knows God is the only person he can confess to. We, as readers, also see that the Reverend's hidden sins comes to torture him in a daily basis.
The "A" on Dimmesdale's chest is a representation of sin and impurity, therefore it becomes a symbol of intolerance and non forgiveness. Hester also wears this letter but it represents the sins of the society, not just her sins. The society believes that a person's worth and value is based on how clean one's soul is and not how clean one's actions are. Dimmesdale's mark on his chest represents his personal resentment and misgivings in regard to the sin he has committed with Hester Prynne. Evidently, the scarlet letter becomes physical build up of the intolerance sin and the unforgiving nature of both Dimmesdale and the Bostonian Puritan community.
The Importance of The Scaffold
Text To World Connection
Roger Chillingworth is a living epitome of intolerance and non-forgiveness. He best demonstrates this theme, due to the obsessive facets of vengeance and revenge he exemplifies throughout the novel. He is both a physically and morally "deformed" man that is only driven,not through Puritan ideals, but through his corrupt nature.
Throughout the later stages of The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale also seems to
embody the novels theme. He is unrelenting in absolving his sin and also intolerant of his actions. He represents non-forgiveness, because he never, until the denoument of the novel, accepts his mistake. In many cases he is seen punishing himself; his actions are best represented by the 'self-branded' scarlet letter on his chest.
Real Life Examples
Israel and Palestine Conflict
(Seleka vs Balaka)
The Civil Rights
Westboro Baptist Church
Russian Orthodox vs Red Army
Salem Witch Trials
Thanks For Listening
The theme of non-forgiveness and intolerance is apparent in the society we live in today, as well as many events that have occured in the past. Even in our current day and age, we intolerantly judge each other based on moral virtues. Religion is a good example of an ideology that may create differences and conflict between many. Cultural and traditional beliefs also allow for judgement and differences to occur in a populous. Although we are more open minded as people in the modern age, it is evident that intolerant judgement (and social separation) still remains as an occurrence in society. Conclusively, in some cases intolerance and non-forgiveness become a social norm within our society and allow for social separation to occur, thus allow for conflicts to occur between two sides who possess differing virtues.
Dimmesdale's Scarlet Letter
The prison doors are a symbol of the gates to hell. A prison is where someone is locked up due to the crimes they have committed. Hell is a place where someone is sent because of serious sins during your lifetime. In Hell, you are banished to eternal damnation for your crimes. In prison, you are locked away for a certain amount of time based on your crime. The doors are also a representation of the darker side of the Puritan society. Their merciless nature and corrupt sense of law and order.
The Prison Doors
The plot structure of the Scarlet Letter is based around the occurrences of the three scaffold scenes. These incidents emphasize on the theme as it exemplifies social mockery and discrimination that are evidently seen in the Puritan society as a whole. The scaffold is first seen in the early chapters of the novel, in which Hester is agonizingly publicly humiliated. It is then presented to the reader in the medial stages of the novel, thus providing a view of all the principal characters. The scaffold is also presented at the end of the book, in which Dimmesdale perishes on top of the stand.
The fact that the scaffold appears three times in the novel, implies that the story is centered around it. Each different time it appears in the story, it signifies the theme of intolerance and non-forgiveness.
First Scaffold Scene
Second Scaffold Scene
Third Scaffold Scene
The first scaffold scene, which is presented in the second (to third) chapters, focuses on Hester and the Scarlet Letter she had been marked with. In this scene she is obviously tried and mocked at due to her sinful actions. In this scene, we have Hester’s public repentance, Dimmesdale’s reluctance to admit his own guilt, and the beginning of Chillingworth’s fiendish plot to find and punish the father. The malevolent ideals and actions of the Puritan community signify the theme of intolerance and non-forgiveness in the novel.
In the covering of darkness, Dimmesdale has made his way to the scaffold to perform a silent vigil of his own and conclusively try once more to repent his sins. He is also joined by the likes of Hester and Pearl. This scene is arguably one of the most important occurrences in the novel. Reverend Dimmesdale uses the night as a 'cover' that conceals his actions. The reverend attempts to deal with his guilt, however he still succumbs into spiritual torture.Eventhough he is morally degraded in this scene, he still comes to accept both Pearl and the sin he had committed with Hester Prynne.
The final scaffold scene acts as a conclusion to Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter". It occurs after the procession on Election Day. This scene may easily summarized by the events in which, Dimmesdale regains his soul (repents his sin), Pearl gains her humanity, Chillingworth loses his victim, and Hester loses her dream to escape and form a family with Dimmesdale. In this scene, the scaffold beocomes a representation of purity, rather than that of sin. It becomes an object that allows for Dimmesdale to finally repent his sin, instead of an enforcer of malevolent Puritan ideals. This scene is a resounding conclusion to the tale and the ordeal that occurs in it.
The Rosebush is a resemblance of Hester. "This rosebush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness.... we shall not take upon to determine." (pg 46) This rosebush has survived for years, despite being trampled on and overshadowed by the bigger trees around the prison. Hester is just like this rosebush, she has been trampled on in bed and by the bigger trees.
The theme of Intolerance and non-forgiveness is heavily depicted in these two settings. Not only do both the forest and the scaffold exemplify the two eerie themes, they also help propel the complex plot of the novel. Additionally they not only depict ideals of the Bostonian Puritan society regarding to that of sin, but they also hold on to the sense of retribution and salvation.