Many of the major differences between the male and female characters in The Scarlet Letter are those based on gender roles during the time in which the story is set. For example, men held the positions of power in society, while women were responsible for the home and children, et cetera.
Perhaps one of the most notable differences is that men seem to be portrayed as the weaker of the two sexes, as far as intrinsic strength is concerned. It is interesting to consider that comparison when noting that the men responsible for disciplining Hester are so intent on convincing her to tell them the name of the man who was her "temptor". In addition, the men in the story are immeasurable more inclined (with the exception of one young woman) to grant Hester some leniency than the women of the community.