Physiognomy, the physical features and characteristics of a person that indicate personality, intentions, or other internal trait. plays an important role in literature by allowing the audience or reader to identify characters who have hidden intentions or motives.
Physiognomy Examples in The Scarlet Letter. Use T Charts to compare and contrast physiognomy in literature!
Physiognomy: Good Characters
• tall and elegant • dark, shiny, full hair • beautiful • gentle feminine features • dignified
Physiognomy: Evil Characters
• small in stature • furrowed visage • intelligent face • indeterminable age • one shoulder is higher than the other
"None so ready as she to give of her little substance to every demand of poverty... None so self-devoted as Hester, when pestilence stalked through the town. In all seasons of calamity, indeed, whether general or of individuals, the outcast of society at once found her place."
"Old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of a man's faculty of transforming himself into a devil... This unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment hence..."