Protagonist role in The Scarlet Letter.
" But (Hester) is not the protagonist, the chief actor, and the tragedy of The Scarlet Letter is not her tragedy but Arthur's. He is the persecuted one, the tempted one. He it was whom the sorrows of death encompassed . His public confession is one of the noblest climaxes of tragic literature.".
The argument over the protagonist role in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne runs undeniably deep. At first glance it appears that the protagonist of the story is Hester Prynn, however Randall Stewart has presented an argument that suggesur Dimmesdale as the Protagonist of the story. Hester Prynn is the character that the story focuses on, more then any other character. She is the mother of her only daughter, Pearl, who was conceived in sin with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale is the reverend of the small puritan society, and Hester's partner in sin. This also makes him Pearls Father. It most certainly appears that Arthur Dimmesdale is not the protagonist, but Hester Prynn plays this role. These two leading-role characters may have some things in common, but only one can convey most of the action. Hester Prynn solely occupies the role of protagonist by far. She is the initiator of all the forward action and her role in the story is crucial to the progression of the plot line. Without Hester serving as the protagonist the story would never end.
The position of protagonist is one of power, and it is easily noticible that Dimmesdale wields no power over anyone, let alone himself. On the contrary to Stewart's statement, it appears that Dimmesdale is actually a hypocritical coward. Worse, he is a self-confessed hypocritical coward. Dimmesdale has only one part in the whole story. His role is centered on his self-torture that he inflicts on himself because he hasn't the guts or "power" to confess. This story would not have even been formed for it not had been for Hester.