The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

It is six in the morning at an Arizona prison. A prisoner named Jonas has been awoken by the prison bell, which sounds more like a horn, and signals that it is time for the prisoners to awake. Jonas quickly gets up, makes his bed and then stands at the door of his cell awaiting a prison guard who will be doing the daily check of his cell. While waiting for the guard, Jonas thinks to himself about what his day will be like, but he soon realizes that it will be the same as the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, and so on. Jonas then grows quickly depressed, for he realizes, as he always does, that his life is filled with repetition and he is trapped by it. Like Jonas, many characters in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, experience the feeling of being caught in one way or another . Among those characters are Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, Pearl Prynne and Hester Prynne. These characters are truly affected by entrapment.

From beginning to end, many factors contribute to making Mr. Dimmesdale feel trapped in one way or another. To start, he is trapped in silence and pain. His need to be silent and the pain that he feels because of it, is shown when he says to Hester Prynne, in front of the town,
Hester Prynne, ... I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee
on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him , except it tempt him-yea, compel him, as it were-to add hyprocisy to sin? Heaven hath granted thee an open ignominy, that thereby thou mayest work out an open triumph over evil within thee, and the sorrow without. Take heed how thou deniest to him-who perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself - the bitter,
wholesome, cup that is now presented to thy lips! (Hawthorne, 62).

The town does not know it yet, but Mr. Dimmesdale is Hester Prynne?s fellow sinner. Hester was married to Roger Prynne but strayed from her marriage and committed adultery with Arthur Dimmesdale. Mr. Dimmesdale professes that his silence is causing him a lot of pain and that he would gladly stand alongside Hester to face the consequences of their crime. However, Hester remains silent and Mr. Dimmesdale is forced to do the same. Not only must Mr. Dimmesdale remain silent and full of pain but he is also seen as something he is not. On many occasions, "He had told his hearers that he was altogether vile, a viler companion of the vilest, the worst of sinners, an abomination, a thing of unimaginable inquity; and that the only wonder was, that they did not see his wretched body shriveled up before their eyes, by the burning wrath of the Almighty!...They heard [this] all, and but did reverence more." (Hawthorne, 126). Mr. Dimmesdale is feeling guilty. His conscience is telling him to surrender and take his just punishment as Hester has. He feels that he has wronged just as much as she has, and that he should be equally punished. However, it was Hester?s insistence to keep his involvement a secret and he respected her wishes. So, he would constantly put himself down in front of others. However, no matter how badly his words were against himself, the public just loved him even more. Mr. Dimmesdale was not only caught in the public?s eye to be judged wrongly but he was stuck with the scarlet letter and all the unhappiness that it brought with it. On one occasion, while talking with his love Hester Prynne, the subject of the scarlet letter came up and he became upset and said to her, "Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret!" (Hawthorne, 167). The scarlet letter is a form of public humiliation which must be worn by the guilty party to show everyone what they