Essay on Pillars of Metaphorical Ambiguity in The Scarlet Letter

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Pillars of Metaphorical Ambiguity in The Scarlet Letter

Among the multiplicity of arcane elements hidden beneath the words in Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter", none is so apparent, yet strikingly subtle to the reader's perception and consumption of characterization than the allegorical play on words within the names of the characters. Both the protagonist and her rival within the plot are blessed with conveniently appropriate, fitting names. The four pillars supporting this novel are all cloaked with foreshadowing names, which silently clue the reader into what traits and significance the character holds as the story unfolds. These pillars that solidify the novel are Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, Arthur Dimmesdale, and
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Unmistakably the shallowest example of metaphorical naming, Hawthorne wished to establish Chillingworth's inability to thaw a frozen heart with an equally cold sense of judgment and compassion. Possibly, once, many years ago, before he was captured by savages and held captive, before his wife committed adultery against him, Roger Chillingworth might once have been a decent soul. Whatever has transpired throughout the years between Hester's departure of England and his arrival to her jail cell the eve of her sentencing, any flame of human empathy had been extinguished, leaving a void of frigid noncomplacency. Despite his passive-aggressive tactics to inflict vengeance upon the father of his wife's illegitimate child, Chillingworth easily reveals the evil pumping through his veins in his statements to Hester. After receiving a firm lecture and sermon upon her atrocities committed against the Lord and her community, Hester was sent to the prison with her daughter to fester in shame over her sin. So distraught she became, the jailer, Master Brackett, went to fetch a physician and came upon Roger Chillingworth. He approached Hester with eerily suppressed emotion, and administered concoctions to both her and Pearl, not surprisingly, she was concerned for ulterior motives, but he assured Hester he would not harm her

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