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Word Count: 668
The first scaffold scene in Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter takes place in the beginning of the novel Its noon on a June day in 1642 A large number of Puritans gather in Bostons market-place around the scaffold They have come to witness the public punishment of Hester Prynne who has commited the sin of adultery Hester emerges from the prison holding her three month old child and bearing a scarlet letter A of the bodice of her dress The scaffold is used only to disiple criminals who have severely violated Puritan law It represents sin itself As Hester stands with her daughter the product of her and her lovers sin her pride fades as she comes to realize and accept her shame Looking up to the unsympathic stares of the crowd Hester catches a glimpse of a misshapen old physican on the outskirts of the crowd She is immediately recognizes this man as her long lost husband unheard from for more than two years Prestegious men in the society demand the identity of the father of her child from the balconcy above the scaffold One of those men Arthur Dimmesdale who eventually admits to being the infamous sinner in question tries the gentler approach but Hester also refuses his attempt The first scaffold scene serves to introduce us to all the characters who will eventually play a major role as the novel unfolds At the beginning of the second scaffold scene it is Dimmesdale who stands alone on the scaffold He is grief-stricken and in agony over the hypocrisy he has lived for seven years Arthur feels that the only way he can repent for this buried sin is on the very scaffold inwhich Hester stood with Pearl all those years ago His guilty conscience has caused emmense physical suffering along with obvious mental pain Along with the torture brought on by Roger Chillingworth Hesters husband and Dimmesdales personal physican Dimmesdale cries out in
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