Choose a character from The Scarlet Letter who responds in some significant way to justice or injustice. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze the character’s understanding of justice, the degree to which the character’s search for justice is successful, and the significance of this search for the work as a whole. In your essay, do not merely summarize the plot. Use quotes and examples from the play to illustrate your points.
The Scarlet Letter showed many accounts of justice and injustice in the novel. Many of these accounts were appointed to that of one of the main characters, Hester Prynne. Hester Prynne was a character of The Scarlet Letter who was trialed and condemned of the sin adultery. Although there was a sin committed, Hester`s ordeal wasn`t a justified case. Hester`s husband was away and was said to have been at the bottom of the sea. Therefore, there wasn’t really a sin that was committed.
Due to her sin, Hester Prynne was cut off from society, imprisoned and forced to live in shame without any fair judgment of the situation. But, she bravely stood at the scaffold, with the letter on her chest and her child in her arms. For seven years she suffered the consequences of a sin that she had committed. Even though she was harshly punished for what she did, Hester stayed calm and would have appeared to not be effected by her consequences. She took on the life of a peaceful, kind, and helpful person. Hester’s actions were motivated by two elements, “Freedom of her soul, and the right to raise her child” (Injustice and Punishments 2013).
By confessing to the sin, she freed her soul from corruption and suffered the consequences. God forgave her and she acknowledges that by raising her daughter, Pearl, the best way she could. Hester dealt with what she did by staying humble and accepting the consequences of what she did. In the 3rd paragraph of chapter 13, Hawthorne writes, "Such helpfulness was found in her, —so much power to do, and power to sympathize, —that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Abel; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength." Hester had changed from an unremorseful person, into a kinder, helping individual.
Many people would have thought that Hester`s harsh punishments would have stripped her of all happiness and made her continuously feel guilty and ashamed, but it did not. Hester seemed satisfied with the new life she had taken on due to her sin. In chapter 13, it states, "The scarlet letter had not done its office." What ever was meant for Hester to feel did not take over her or affect her. She responded to the unfair punishment with such dignity and pride. It was almost as if she never committed the sin at all. “…the sin did not destroy her inward spirit; instead, she gathered her strength and courage, and flourished in spite of the letter A.” (Diane Sauder 2000)