Significance of the third scaffold scene in The Scarlet Letter


The novel The Scarlet Letter’’ (1850) is a remarkable literary work of the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). Chapter 23 of the novel is called the third scaffold scene entitled the name of “The Revelation of the scarlet letter”.  This scene has a versatile significance that is mentioned with logical arguments. 

Unriddling of the scarlet letter  

The scarlet letter is the title name of the novel which stands for the bright colored letter like the shape of “A” which represents the adulterer. To the readers, it was a great riddle to know the name of Pearl’s father or to know who the fellow sinner is. The third scaffold scene disclosed the riddle to the readers.  

More Notes: The Scarlet Letter

The revelation of the scarlet letter   

The significance of the third scaffold has been extended because it worked as the climax or the turning point of the novel. Here, the hero of the novel Arthur Dimmesdale has opened his breast for showing the scarlet letter that Hester wore as her punishment. Arthur Dimmesdale has worn the same scarlet letter because he seemed that he was a fellow sinner.   

To get Pearls real identity  

Till chapter 23 the townspeople do not know who Pearl’s father is. But in the third scaffold scene in front of a great crowd, Dimmesdale has recognized that Pearl is his own child. So we can say that this scene is more significant for Pearl’s identity.   

“Pearl kissed his lips. A spell was broken. The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies;” 

More Notes: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Death of Arthur Dimmesdale  

In the third scaffold scene, Dimmesdale has died. Before death, he has done the unfinished work that he should have done it before.  


To sum up, we may terminate that the final pillory or scaffolding scene has been designed as the most dramatic and informative for the readers.  

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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