A beautiful puritan woman full of strong passions, Hester Prynne is the main character in the story. Employed as the village seamstress, she is strong and caring, helping anyone she can when he or she is in need. With a penitent heart, Hester travels through the story becoming only a shadow of her former passionate loving self. The letter that Hester was forced to wear upon her bosom, the scarlet letter was not only a symbol of her adulterous sin, but of the women herself. The letter masks her beauty and passion as the story goes until it is what she is known. Other than the scarlet letter, she was a very moral woman whose only joy in life was her daughter Pearl. Also, a rose bush that grew outside the prison was a symbol of survival, that there is life after the prison where Hester spent the beginning of the story. .
Openness vs. Concealment.
Secrecy, concealment, and deception almost always lead to suffering in The Scarlet Letter. The characters of Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth illustrate the negative effects of secrecy. Chillingworth's secret revenge changes him from a decent, scholarly man into a jealous monster. Dimmesdale's secret guilt corrupts the basic goodness of his nature and ultimately kills him:It had stupefied all blessed impulses, and awakened into vivid life the whole brotherhood of bad ones. Scorn, bitterness, unprovoked malignity, gratuitous desire of ill, ridicule of whatever was good and holy, all awoke, to tempt, even while they frightened him? (Ch. 20). .
Hester's character illustrates the positive effects of openness. Hester is, above all else, honest: she openly acknowledges her sin. In Chapter 17, she explains to Dimmesdale that she has been honest in all things except disclosing his part in her pregnancy.A lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side!? She also explains to Chillingworth that, even in their sham of a marriage,thou knowest that I was frank with thee.