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Scaffold and The Scarlet Letter. Hovig Sarkissian Mrs. Halajian AP English 11A. What is a Scaffold?. a platform from which criminals are executed (hanged or beheaded)

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Scaffold and The Scarlet Letter

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scaffold and the scarlet letter

Scaffold and The Scarlet Letter

Hovig Sarkissian

Mrs. Halajian

AP English 11A

what is a scaffold
What is a Scaffold?
  • a platform from which criminals are executed (hanged or beheaded)
  • Scaffolding is a temporary framework used to support people and material in the construction or repair of buildings and other large structures.
  • Scaffolding is a method of building database-backed software applications.
  • A supporting structure for growing cells and tissues
  • The central core structure of condensed chromosomes. The scaffold is composed of non-histone chromosomal proteins
basic meaning
Basic Meaning
  • A scaffold’s main purpose is to supply support or provide the structure of something
  • It is the backbone of something. Without it there will be disorder.
basic things scaffold symbolizes
Basic Things Scaffold Symbolizes
  • Acknowledgement of Sin; Confession
  • Unity and Structure
  • Punishment; Pillory
  • Foundation of Puritan Society
  • Point of View
  • Show; Spectacle
  • Mirror
showcase for sin and infamy
Showcase for Sin and Infamy
  • "It was found," said the Sexton, "this morning on the scaffold where evil-doers are set up to public shame. Satan dropped it there, I take it, intending a scurrilous jest against your reverence. But, indeed, he was blind and foolish, as he ever and always is. A pure hand needs no glove to cover it!" (pg.130)
  • The scaffold is a place inhabited by the devil
  • “evil doers are set up to public shame”
punishment and pillory
Punishment and Pillory
  • In fact, this scaffold constituted a portion of a penal machine, which now, for two or three generations past, has been merely historical and traditionary among us, but was held, in the old time, to be as effectual an agent, in the promotion of good citizenship, as ever was the guillotine among the terrorists of France. It was, in short, the platform of the pillory; and above it rose the framework of that instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to the public gaze. The very ideal of ignominy was embodied and made manifest in this contrivance of wood and iron. There can be no outrage, methinks, against our common nature—whatever be the delinquencies of the individual—no outrage more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame; as it was the essence of this punishment to do. In Hester Prynne's instance, however, as not unfrequently in other cases, her sentence bore that she should stand a certain time upon the platform, but without undergoing that gripe about the neck and confinement of the head, the proneness to which was the most devilish characteristic of this ugly engine.(pg.48)

- The scaffold provides the framework for discipline

-Characterized as a devilish ugly engine

- Holds structure to punishment

foundation of puritan society
Foundation of Puritan Society
  • Walking in the shadow of a dream, as it were, and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism, Mr. Dimmesdale reached the spot where, now so long since, Hester Prynne had lived through her first hours of public ignominy. The same platform or scaffold, black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years, and foot-worn, too, with the tread of many culprits who had since ascended it, remained standing beneath the balcony of the meeting-house. The minister went up the steps.(pg.122)
  • Scaffold holds structure to years of sin and punishment which are the main fundamentals of the puritan society.
  • “black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years”
  • Tread of many culprits
scaffold and puritan society
Scaffold and Puritan Society

Foundation of Puritans=sin and punishment

Scaffold=sin and punishment

Scaffold=foundation/basis of puritan society

confession and exposure
Confession and Exposure
  • With a convulsive motion, he tore away the ministerial band from before his breast. It was revealed! But it were irreverent to describe that revelation. For an instant, the gaze of the horror-stricken multitude was concentrated on the ghastly miracle; while the minister stood, with a flush of triumph in his face, as one who, in the crisis of acutest pain, had won a victory. Then, down he sank upon the scaffold! Hester partly raised him, and supported his head against her bosom. “Tore away the ministerial band.” (pg.209)
  • Dimmesdale finally confesses his sin on the platform
  • The secret is exposed
  • She silently ascended the steps, and stood on the platform, holding little Pearl by the hand. The minister felt for the child's other hand, and took it. The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system. The three formed an electric chain. (chap. 12)
  • Creates Unity between the three
  • They communicate their warmth
  • Positive connotation
  • “electric chain”- a bond
unity continued
Unity Continued…
  • They beheld the minister, leaning on Hester's shoulder, and supported by her arm around him, approach the scaffold, and ascend its steps; while still the little hand of the sin-born child was clasped in his. Old Roger Chillingworth followed, as one intimately connected with the drama of guilt and sorrow in which they had all been actors, and well entitled, therefore to be present at its closing scene. (pg. 207)
  • The scaffold unites the three
  • Also represents a show/stage/play
point of view
Point of View
  • “Be that as it might, the scaffold of the pillory was a point of view that revealed to Hester Prynne the entire track along which she had been treading, since her happy infancy. Standing on that miserable eminence, she saw again her native village, in Old England, and her paternal home: a decayed house of grey stone, with a poverty-stricken aspect, but retaining a half obliterated shield of arms over the portal, in token of antique gentility. She saw her father's face, with its bold brow, and reverend white beard that flowed over the old-fashioned Elizabethan ruff; her mother's, too, with the look of heedful and anxious love which it always wore in her remembrance, and which, even since her death, had so often laid the impediment of a gentle remonstrance in her daughter's pathway. “(150)
  • Scaffold offers a new viewpoint to gaze at
  • By standing on the platform, Hester develops a point of view on her life so far
show amusement mirror
  • It could have betokened nothing short of the anticipated execution of some rioted culprit, on whom the sentence of a legal tribunal had but confirmed the verdict of public sentiment. But, in that early severity of the Puritan character, an inference of this kind could not so indubitably be drawn. It might be that a sluggish bond-servant, or an undutiful child, whom his parents had given over to the civil authority, was to be corrected at the whipping-post. It might be that an Antinomian, a Quaker, or other heterodox religionist, was to be scourged out of the town, or an idle or vagrant Indian, whom the white man's firewater had made riotous about the streets, was to be driven with stripes into the shadow of the forest. It might be, too, that a witch, like old Mistress Hibbins, the bitter-tempered widow of the magistrate, was to die upon the gallows. In either case, there was very much the same solemnity of demeanor on the part of the spectators, as befitted a people among whom religion and law were almost identical, and in whose character both were so thoroughly interfused, that the mildest and severest acts of public discipline were alike made venerable and awful. Meagre, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders, at the scaffold.. (pg. 43)
  • “Speculators”-it has become a show
  • Represents show or amusement
  • Scaffold also represents a mirror
  • “The same solemnity of demeanor on the part of the spectators”
final notes
Final Notes
  • In the Scarlet Letter, the scaffold has been a platform structuring sin, punishment, confession, exposure to truth, point of view, the ideals of the Puritan society, and etc.
  • The 3 scaffold scenes provide the backbone of the story which everything revolves around.