Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Scaffold Scenes in Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter Essay -- Scarlet

â€Å"Hester Prynne passed through this portion of her ordeal, and came to a sort of scaffold (51),† Hawthorne tells in the opening seen of the novel, The Scarlet Letter. The scaffold is a place for punishment. â€Å"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,† Hawthorne states in explaining the scaffolds use. The scaffold had wooden steps leading on to it. The steps of the scaffold became the walk of death for many people before they were beheaded. A balcony or open gallery stood over the platform and was attached to the meetinghouse. During Hester’s punishment, the ministers and Governor sat in the gallery in order to question her. The scaffold was located at the â€Å"western extremity† of the market place, near the chur ch. The scaffold was a raised platform made of wood and iron. Men and women who sinned would be forced on the scaffold, either for beheading or, in Hester’s case, extreme embarrassment. The scaffold appears in the book three times, during three major scenes. The scenes are placed equally apart in the book, one at the beginning, in the middle and in the final scene at the end. The first scaffold scene encompasses Hester’s punishment and open confession. While the third scaffold scene includes Dimmesdale's confession. In the second or middle scaffold scene, both Hester and Dimmesdale are on the scaffold in the middle of the night. The scaffold is introduced in the novel for its literal uses, but the scaffold comes to symbolize and embody many other meanings. The scaffold is a symbol of the... ... for his sin. Both in the novel and in everyday use, the scaffold has a certain connotation to it. For instance, a person told that they were going to be scaffolded would most likely be fearful. However, as used scaffolding could simply mean that they were going to be propped up. Likewise, in The Scarlet Letter all Puritans fear chastisement on the scaffold.   In the novel, the scaffold is never used for public speaking or a theatrical performance, but only for the confession of sin. Most Puritans did not realize that the scaffold could have many positive uses. Likewise, to be scaffolded, by definition, is just as likely to be a good action as a bad one. Unfortunately, most historical documentation about the scaffold relates to of executions and punishments. Thus, the word scaffold can do many beneficial things for mankind, yet carries a very negative aura.

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