Male domination was a perfect description of Nathaniel Hawthorne's, author of The Scarlet Letter, time era. Women were thought of as lesser than men. Women's purpose was to raise children and give them good morals and values. Women didn't have jobs or hold political office. Even though women were oppressed in Hawthorne's time, in an earlier era, the Puritan era, women were even more subdued. They wore the plainest, drabbest clothes and sat meekly at their husbands" sides. Passion and happiness were considered a sin to the Puritan faith. Hawthorne was a rare man who believed that women should be allowed to rise above this stereotype. He believed that in many ways women were stronger and had greater character than most men. Hester Prynne was the embodiment of Hawthorne's feminist views and ideals. Women of this time were not thought of as able to overcome hardships and trials because they were considered weak, but Hawthorne showed to the world with The Scarlet Letter what women, in actuality, were like.
The embodiment of Hawthorne's feminist ideals, Hester, was an unusual character for that time period. Women weren't considered very important. Yet, "so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman" strength" was how she was described by many people. This woman, part of the sex considered to be powerless, was held in high esteem by the public. It isn't a coincidence that Hester was given a task as great as overcoming the burden of the scarlet letter and that she emerged triumphant. Overcoming the scarlet letter was Hawthorne's way of displaying that women may have not been physically stronger, but women's heart, spirit, courage, and character could be victorious in battles where physical strength could never triumph.
The shame Hester first felt when she wore the scarlet letter was almost unbearable. Instead of lying down to die, Hester took the scarlet letter and put it to good use.