Hester is considered a scapegoat in The Scarlet Letter, but why?

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The concept of a scapegoat is a person who is blamed for the misdeeds of others, often because it is convenient.

In The Scarlet Letter, it is convenient for the community to single out Hester Prynne as a living symbol of sin. She is, first of all, a woman living in a misogynistic culture that believed women were inherently sinful, evidenced by their emphasis on Eve's role in the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Hester is also a newcomer to the colony, sent ahead of a husband who was a devout Puritan, but perhaps not a fully committed one herself. When she becomes pregnant in the absence of her husband, it is all too easy to put the full blame on her. No one in the community seems particularly interested in knowing the identity of the father until Roger Chillingworth arrives and makes it his personal mission, even though whomever impregnated Hester is as much a sinner as she.

Hester's lack of shame and regret makes her deeply unpopular within the community. Her attitude makes it easy for...

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