The Scarlet Letter Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Puritan women play an important role in The Scarlet Letter. How would these Puritan women treat Hester, and how did they want to punish her?

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In chapter II, "The Market Place", the reader is finally introduced to Hester Prynne.  However, before she exits the prison we first meet the other Puritan women.  These "gossips" provide the reader with a glimpse into the harsh Puritan life.

Goodwives,” said a hard-featured dame of fifty, “I'll tell ye a piece of my mind. It would be greatly for the public behoof, if we women, being of mature age and church-members in good repute, should have the handling of such malefactresses as this Hester Prynne. What think ye, gossips? If the hussy stood up for judgment before us five, that are now here in a knot together, would she come off with such a sentence as the worshipful magistrates have awarded? Marry, I trow not!”

The women imagine how things would be different if the...

(The entire section contains 421 words.)

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