What is the role and significance of Mistress Hibbins in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter?

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Toward the end of the novel, after Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale have determined to run away together, Hester sees Mistress Hibbins in town.  Mistress Hibbins says a number of things that make it clear that she understands the relationship between Hester and Arthur.  When Hester feigns confusion, Mistress Hibbins asks her,

"Dost thou think I have been to the forest so many times, and have yet no skill to judge who else has been there? . . . I know thee, Hester, for I behold the token.  We may all see it in the sunshine! and it glows like a red flame in the dark.  Thou wearest it openly, so there need be no question about that.  But this minister! . . .  When the Black Man sees one of his own servants, signed and sealed, so shy of owning to the bond as is the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, he hath a way of ordering matters so that the mark shall be disclosed, in open daylight, to the eyes of all the world!"

In other words, Hibbins claims that she knows sin and temptation well...

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jaredsmith | Student

i agree

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