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The Scarlet Letter. Analysis of characters. Hester Prynne. the main characters. Arthur Dimmesdale. Roger Chillingworth. Major characters in The Scarlet Letter. Roger Chillingworth. Arthur Dimmesdale. husband. lover. Hester Prynne. daughter. Pearl .

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analysis of characters
Analysis of characters

Hester Prynne

the main characters

Arthur Dimmesdale

Roger Chillingworth

major characters in the scarlet letter
Major charactersin The Scarlet Letter

Roger Chillingworth

Arthur Dimmesdale



Hester Prynne



major characters in the scarlet letter4
Major charactersin The Scarlet Letter

attractive, appealing, intelligent, capable

Passionate—has a love affair with Dimmesdale

strong and stoic—she endures years of shame and scorn


contemplative—speculates on human nature, social organization, and larger moral questions.

maternal—moderates her tendency to be rash; cares for the poor and brings them food and clothing

a protofeminist mother figure to the women of the community

why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter
Why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter?

A--“her passport into regions where other women dared not tread”

her behavior

She desires to determine her own identity rather than to allow others to determine it for her

she is determined to transform its meaning through her actions and her own self-perception

She is unwilling to erase her past deed and her past decisions

She is not the example of sin that she was once intended to be. Rather, she is an example of redemption(救赎) and self-empowerment.

what makes dimmesdale s mental anguish
What makes Dimmesdale’s mental anguish?

1.Hester takes all of the blame for their shared sin goads,his conscience, and his resultant mental anguish.

2.The townspeople do not believe Dimmesdale’s protestations of sinfulness. This drives Dimmesdale to further internalize his guilt and self-punishment and leads to still more deterioration in his physical and spiritual condition.


true evil

his name --- a man deficient in human warmth

His appearance--- twisted, stooped, deformed shoulders--- his distorted soul

His identity of a “leech”---he feeds on the vitality of others as a way of energizing his own projects.

He is interested in revenge---after Dimmesdale dies, Chillingworth no longer has a victim. Having lost the objects of his revenge, the leech has no choice but to die.

themes of the scarlet letter
Themes of The Scarlet Letter

Don’t intend to tell a love story or a story of sin

assumes the universality(普遍性) of guilty


explores the complexities and ambiguities of man’s choices

focuses his attention on the moral, emotional, and psychological effects of the sin on the people


Everybody is potentially(潜在的) a sinner, and great moral courage is indispensable(必不可少的) for the improvement of human nature


The book is an examination of the forces that shape Hester and the transformations those forces effect, a hymn on the moral growth of the woman when sinned against.




confesses her guilty, faces the future optimistically,helps others

hides his guilty first

morally degrads by his pursuit of revenge

undergoes the physical and spiritual torments

is able to construct her life, wins a moral success


moral growth(道德提升)


writing characteristics
writing characteristics

1)It is a cultural allegory(文化式寓言) and structurally compact.

twenty-four chapters

are knitted together


in the beginning, the middle, and the end

All the four major characters are at the scene

writing characteristics12
Writing characteristics

2)Hawthorne's ambiguity

people offer different views concerning the sign of the letter A on the dead minister's chest. The author doesn't give his views. So, People come up with different interpretations.

writing characteristics13
Writing characteristics

3)It is a kind of romance.

Two lovers come together, finally united in death.

4)Hawthorne's use of the supernatural.

The appearance of the symbol A in the sky is : in twilight atmosphere, all things, natural or otherwise, may become probable.

writing characteristics14
Writing characteristics

5) His use of symbols

the central symbol

the scarlet letter “A”




a token of shame

“A” appears in the sky

what does a mean to the chief characters respectively
What does “A” mean to the chief characters respectively?
    • For Puritan society, it just means punishment.
    • For Hester, it means unjust humiliation.
    • For Dimmesdale, it’s a reminder of his own sin.
    • For Chillingworth, it’s a request for revenge.
    • For Pearl, it’s nothing but a beautiful cloth.
  • It is a guide for Hester to go to heaven, and Dimmesdale hell.