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The Scarlet Letter
When Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter, he filled the story with archetypes. He used archetypes from three different categories. They are plot, character, and symbolic archetypes. Because of these three elements, The Scarlet Letter is an archetypal book.

The first plot archetype is the battle between good and evil. In the story, Roger Chillingworth represents evil and is also seen as the devil figure. He was said to be the Black Man that lived in the forest and carried a book with people s names signed in blood. It is also said that Chillingworth resembled Satan. Hester Prynne and the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale represent the good in the story, and are both ultimately good, despite the fact that they committed adultery. The battle that the three characters have, has to do with Chillingworth s obsession with getting vengeance on Dimmesdale. After Chillingworth finds out that Dimmesdale was the one Hester had the affair with, Chillingworth makes it a point to get revenge on the two. He mainly concentrates his evil doings on Dimmesdale though, because he figured that the scarlet letter was enough punishment for Hester. So he makes Dimmesdale suffer by digging deeper into the guilt that was already haunting him, and tortures him to a point where he becomes ill.

The next plot archetype is the unhealable wound. Both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale share the unhealable wound. Both characters lost their innocence when they committed adultery. Hester had to wear the scarlet letter everyday of her life as a punishment for her sin, and for not revealing whom her partner was. At one point in the book, she even thought of committing suicide and murdering Pearl. That s how far her suffering carried her. Arthur Dimmesdale had to live with a guilty conscience everyday of his existence. It was hard for him to be a minister, a person of God, when he knew what sin he had committed. His guilt overcame him so much that his sermons lost their quality, and he even got sick.

There are many different character archetypes in which Hester Prynne symbolizes in the story. She is the heroin, the scapegoat, and the outcast. Hester is the heroin for many different reasons. Throughout her entire ordeal, Hester was always courageous. She could have easily given up, but she didn t. Despite all the criticism she encountered, she never gave up. She stayed strong so that she could raise her daughter, Pearl. Hester also plays the scapegoat when she takes on the scarlet letter. The scarlet letter represents not only Hester s sin, but also the sins of the other citizens that have also committed adultery. That is why some of the other townspeople looked away and blushed when she walked past them. It was because they were ashamed of her, but because they were ashamed...
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The Scarlet Letter. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from