Bring out the dramatic significance of the novel The Scarlet Letter

Question: Bring out the dramatic significance of the novel The Scarlet Letter.


The Scarlet letter is the shining literary work in the history of English literature especially in American literature.  This novel is designed by the noble prize-winning writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1464). In the novel, the three scaffold scenes are the core of the novel. These have appeared at the starting point, middle, and end of the novel. The three scenes have been profound dramatic significance that is illustrated below.

An integral part of the novel

The three scenes in   “The Scarlet Letter” are an integral part of the novel. It has been mingled the structure and unity of the narrative. Artistically and dramatically the three scaffold scenes have produced the very core of Hawthorne’s tale of crime and punishment.

Development of the plot

Nathaniel Hawthorne has been represented the three scenes as the stair for the development in the plot making of the novel. Each of these three scaffold scenes has been a profound contribution to creating a critical development of the plot.

More Notes Of The Scarlet

The first scaffold scene represents crime

If we observe minutely the first scaffold scene we notice that the writer has been introduced to a young lady with an infant who has been given punishment for her adultery. So we can say that the first scaffold scene is the introducing part of the characters and crime.

“There was an air about this young minister, –an apprehensive, a startled, a half-frightened look, —as of a being who felt himself quite astray and at a loss in the pathway of human existence.”

The introductory part of the characters

The first scaffold scene has been used by the writer as an introductory section of the characters. Throughout this scene, we get a clear description of all the characters of The Scarlet Letter.

The second pillory scene worked as a middle

The second scaffold scene occurs in chapter 12 entitled the name “Minister’s Vigil” This scene has been also represented the theme of the day versus night. It shows strong feelings of guilt. Arthur Dimmesdale is the sinner person but being a governor of the state of Boston he could not disclose the fact. On the other hand, the strong feelings of guilt have been devastated and led him to great frustration. Being frustrated at night he decided that he would disclose the fact of adultery. But his responsibility as a priest and governor interpreted him to disclose the fact.

“It is the unspeakable misery of a life so false as his [Dimmesdale’s], that it steals the pith and substance out of whatever realities there are around us, and which were meant by Heaven to be the spirit’s joy and nutriment.”

The final scaffold scene appeared as the Revelation of the fact

The last pillory scene is the denouement or discovery of the story. The final scaffold scene occurs in chapter 23 entitled the name the Revelation of the scarlet letter. It is Election Day. After finishing the Election sermon, in the mourning mood Arthur Dimmesdale ask Hester and Pearl to join him. The crowd and the characters of the novel are presented there. In front of the gaze, Dimmesdale opened his breast to show the scarlet letter which looked like the scarlet letter of Hester‘s breast. Then Dimmesdale said that Pearl was his daughter. Thus, Arthur Dimmesdale has been confessed his sin and died in the final scaffold scene.

“And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart.”


The novel is by far the most significant and evergreen fictional work in American history. Here, Nathaniel Hawthorne brings to bear the profound and deep association of plot, characters, and symbol throughout the three scaffold scenes.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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