Scarlet Letter

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  • The reader meets Hester Prynne, who has to wear a letter A on her dress at all times for her sin of adultery. Even when questioned publicly by Reverend Dimmesdale, Prynne still does not disclose the name of the baby's father.
  • Introduction
  • A
  • "'He bids you look again at Hester's scarlet letter! He tells you, that, with all its mysterious horror, it is but the shadow of what he bears on his own breast(...)'" (Hawthorne 174).
  • A
  • 'thou shalt never know'"(Hawthorne 52).
  • "'I seek no vengeance, plot no evil against thee. (...) But, Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both! Who is he?' (...)
  • Rising Action
  • A
  • Roger Chillingworth, Hester's husband, learns that Dimmesdale is the father of Pearl and that Dimmesdale is too afraid to publicly admit his sin.
  • A
  • Although Hester begs Chillingworth to stop mentally torturing Dimmesdale, Chillingworth responds by impling that he will never give up his game of revenge that is "striking evidence of man's faculty of transforming himself into a devil" (Hawthorne 116).
  • A
  • "'And I!- how am I to live longer, breathing the same air with this deadly enemy? (..) Think for me, Hester! '" (Hawthorne 134).
  • Prynne reveals to Dimmesdale that Chillingworth is her husband and suggests that Dimmesdale flees back to Europe
  • A
  • Climax
  • Because Dimmesdale makes the confession of his sin public, he escapes the unending revenge of Chillingworth.
  • A
  • Dimmesdale dies after his public confession and Chillingworth dies soon afterward because he could not take revenge on Dimmesdale anymore. Chillingworth's untimely death raises the question if "whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom" (Hawthorne 178).
  • Falling Action
  • Resolution
  • Pearl inherits all the estate from Chillingworth and moves to Europe to, presumably, have a family. Hester Prynne returns to Salem to face the consequences of her sin until the day she dies.
  • A
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