The importance of the forest and scaffold in the scarlet letter a novel by nathaniel hawthorne

what does the forest symbolize in the scarlet letter

I will maintain that the scaffold is a symbol of salvation, and the forest a symbol of freedom from conventional moral restraints. However, the forest is also a moral wilderness that Hester finds herself in once she is forced to wear the sign of her guilt.

Finally, a person must stand alone - as a sinful creature before God.

scarlet letter symbolism essay

Then, down he sank upon the scaffold! Within this community, we found all the central features of the town, the most symbolic of these is the scaffold; many souls are condemned upon it and are subjected to intense inquiry, where reality becomes a brutal punishment. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty.

Characters Hester is the public sinner who demonstrates the effect of punishment on sensitivity and human nature. 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.

scaffold symbolism in the scarlet letter

On the scaffold was also Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, who was trying to get Hester to confess the man involved in the crime.

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The Scaffold and Forest in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter