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Describe each Scaffold Scene and the significance of each.I've had a pretty hard time...

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vkhyman95 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 25, 2012 at 3:00 PM via web

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Describe each Scaffold Scene and the significance of each.

I've had a pretty hard time getting an accurate answer on this... I appreciate any help... Thanks!

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trinithepinkangel | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted October 19, 2012 at 11:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Scaffold Scene #1
Occurring at Chapters 1–3, the first scaffold scene shows all of the principal characters in one place. There are townsfolk as well. Hester stands on the pillory alone with Pearl in her arms, a symbol of her crime of adultery, her personified 'Scarlet Letter'. There is Dimmesdale among other officials who represent the church-state. As a part of the crowd there is Dr. Prynne aka Roger Chillingworth. Here Hawthorne shows Hester’s punishment in public, Dimmesdale’s ambivalence and reluctance to tell the truth in fear of public humiliation and losing his position, and we also see the beginning of Chillingworth’s plot to search for Hester's partner in crime and and punish him. This scene is specially significant because it sheds a good amount of light on Hester's nature. She bears her punishment with a haughty dignity. All alone in the world with Pearl, the symbol of her sin, she puts upon such an air of pride which conceals the torture she undergoes to a great extent. The main attention here is drawn upon the scarlet letter 'A'.

Scaffold Scene #2
This comes precisely in the middle of the story. This occurs at midnight, while the other two happens at midday. According to Hawthorne this is scene is a "vain show of expiation." The scarlet letter is emphasized here again, but this time it is mainly the letter of Arthur Dimmesdale. Standing on the pillory alone, he feels as if the whole world is looking at the scarlet letter over his heart. After a while when he asks Hester and Pearl to join him, he understands the vitality of a life other than his own standing with the other two. But even at that time he is not brave enough which is why he becomes afraid at Perarl's suggestion to stand like this in the broad daylight. A meteor similar to the letter 'A' lights up the sky then which can be interpreted in two ways. The townsfolk interpret it as 'Angel' thinking the recently dead good Governor Winthrop have been made an angel after his death. On the other hand, this same 'A' appears to Dimmesdale as a symbol of his own guilt.
This scene is also a moment of partial triumph for Chillingworth who is observing them with malevolence in his face and later takes Dimmesdale home with him.There are plenty of symbols in this section- the scaffold itself, Dimmesdale’s standing there; the three potential observers who represent Church, State, and the World of Evil, the “electric chain” of Hester,Pearl and Dimmesdale; Pearl’s appeal to Dimmesdale to stand with them; the light from the heavens and the various interpetations of the letter 'A'.

Scaffold Scene #3
It comes almost at the end of the story. This scene is dominated by Dimmesdale. The readers see the main characters come together in this scene as well and this is the time when finally Dimmesdale reveals his “scarlet letter.” This time he has gathered all the courage to admit his guilt. He believes that he is going according to God's will and so even brushes Chillingworth aside when he says "I can yet save you", calling him a "tempter".
This final scaffold scene reflects many symbols as before- the Church and the State, the world of evil, the scarlet letter, the scaffold itself, a kiss and death. 

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