The Ring of Shame

“Ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. Come hither once again, and we will stand all three together! ” In his feeble attempts to make public his hidden shame, Reverend Dimmesdale attempts to include himself in the infinite ring of ignominy that he, Hester, and Pearl have inevitably been trapped in. With this theme in mind, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, uses the characters of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Peal to illuminate the them of isolation coupled wit the destruction of

The fabric “A” that Hester must wear sets her apart from everyone in the colony. It is firmly and magnificently placed up her clothing but it also has been sewn into her heart. “Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart. ” Hester’s “A” causes others to disassociate themselves with her, but her heart cause her to disassociate with others. Hester placed herself in isolation because of both the guilt in her heart and the heinous acts of others. As Hester’s shame and guilt is shown for all to see, Dimmesdale’s hidden guilt prevents him from forming intimate social relationships.

In order to have an intimate relationship, one must open his or herself up to the other party. Dimmesdale is not able to do this, because he fears the result that might come if he tells any soul about his sin. He is forced to keep his problems concealed. Because of his confinement and hidden secrets he has made himself ill. “The physician advanced directly in front of his patient, laid his hand upon his bosom, and thrust aside the vestment, that, hitherto, had always covered it. Pearl represents the third ring of ignominy in this story. Pearl was born an outcast of the infantile world. ” This holds true because Pearl was the daughter of Hester, the town adulteress. The other children ken this and persecuted Pearl for her mother’s sin, which hindered her from developing relationships with other children and people in general. Pearl also isolates herself from other people because of her florid temper and devilish qualities. People fear Pearl for her outrageous behavior, her knack to uncover the truth in some of the things she sees, and her knowledge and understanding she has for her young age. Ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. Come up hither once again, and we will stand all three together! ” Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne, and little Pearl all struggle with their own torments, yet are all three related in the root of their struggles and in isolation. Nathaniel Hawthorn, in his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, uses the characters of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Pearl to illuminate the theme of isolation. The isolation of all three derived as a result of sin, and all three must live with the consequences whether deserved or not.

Hester, Pearl and most importantly, Arthur Dimmesdale, all find themselves fuelled by this underlining feeling of ignominy. It’s sets them all apart for the rest of the colony, but also brings them together. For Hester, her shame is presented to the whole colony. While Arthur Dimmesdale hides his under his vest, but does this provide him with any comfort. In the midst of all this, lies a child who innocently came into a world where friendships were doomed impossible. All three on a scaffold. All three in the ring of ignominy.

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