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The Scarlet Letter - Hester Prynne, Tragic Heroine

            In the book, "The Scarlet Letter," Nathaniel Hawthorne creates a character who is so loving, passionate, and mistreated that the reader cannot help but feel badly for her. Hester's immense capacity and need for love and passion is what caused her to commit adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale, ultimately causing her isolation and struggles within the Puritan community. Although Hester does not regret this sin, she will have to bear the burden of isolation for the rest of her life. She is reminded of her sin every day with her child, Pearl, and the scarlet letter. Hester's perseverance, self-reliance, and strength helped her survive the alienation from the town, but the long period of time without another human's affection besides Pearl's made her callous. Hester made the decision to stay in Boston even after being disgraced by the community because she believed Boston was where she belonged and she wanted to help women who struggled within this stringent community. Even though Hester is a very strong woman and can overcome any external obstacles thrown at her, she will never be able to reach an internal victory, nor receive the love from Dimmesdale that she desires. The demise of Hester, who changes from a loving, passionate woman to a more callous one, stems from her passion for companionship and love which causes her much pain and sorrow; therefore, making her a tragic heroine.
             Throughout the story of "The Scarlet Letter," Hawthorne tips off the reader that Hester Prynne is destined for a downfall because her character is written a classic tragic heroine. A tragic hero is "a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy"" (Dictionary.com). Passion for love and affection is Hester Prynne's fatal flaw. A fatal flaw is "a flaw in character that brings about the downfall of the hero of a tragedy" (Merriam-webster.

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