Irony In The Scarlet Letter

What are some examples of irony in The Scarlet Letter?

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One example of situational irony is in Hawthorne's depiction of the Puritans, especially the women, as they gaze on Hester upon the scaffold. He calls them "pitiless . . . self-constituted judges." He paints these Christians as horrible, judgmental, merciless monsters. The irony here is that they are, in fact, Christians. As such, they ought to be merciful and forgiving, generous and loving. Instead, these women suggest that Hester instead of only wearing her letter she ought to be branded with it or, worse yet, that she ought to be executed for her crime of adultery. We would expect them to be...

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Hawthorne use of irony to show the 'sour -peevish 'character  of the Pilgrim forefathers is visible in the first chapter itself; where he berates the so called "utopia".  The black flower of society - the prison  is contrasted with the wild rose bush that thwarts the puritan attempt to stem dissidence. In any given society evil co-exists with   good just as perversity  with the spiritual bent of mind . The author is the descendent of the  puritan immigrants ,but laments at the inhumane treatment meted out by them . The protagonist ,Hester Prynne proudly bears her illegitimate child  and sports the letter "A"  as if defying the Calvinistic doctrine. Hawthorne through Hester questions the cowardice in both her lover- Arthur Dimmesdale and spouse, Roger Chillingsworth.The former ,a devoted minister  in  puritan  Boston and the latter  a revered man of science. 

Irony has been used to denigrate the  societal norms and the so -called God's chosen  people- be it the iron visaged  Dames , the clergy, or the  the needy .Infact irony helps us- examine the agonised soul of the tormented Hester ;understand her her plight as  the second citizen .

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