Minor Characters Verses Major Characters.
The minor characters of Governor Bellingham, Mistress Hibbins, and Pearl in The .
Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne play significant roles to the overall theme .
of the novel. These characters produce themes, and play important roles. Although they .
are minor characters, they are significant to the major characters and most importantly to .
the novel. .
The political figure Richard Bellingham is identified as the governor of the .
Massachusetts colony (Bayum 16). Bellingham governed the puritan colony by the bible, a .
source of spiritual and ethical standards. His outward display of gentility but inner .
puritanical intolerance is a force of persecution to characters in the novel. Yet, the .
characters listen, respond to him respectfully. Not only do they respond respectfully but .
they respond to him with the sympathy that he alone seems to be able to draw from them. .
In The Scarlet Letter Governor Bellingham witnesses Hester Prynne's punishment and is a .
symbol of civil authority (Doren 89, 106).
Mistress Hibbins, a historical figure, Ann Hibbins sister of Governor Bellingham, .
was executed for witchcraft in 1656. In the novel, Hibbins has insight into the sins of both .
Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, and is a symbol of super or preternatural .
knowledge and evil powers (Kaul 101). The name Mistress Hibbins is mentioned in .
Hawthorne's novel before any of the major characters; and at four critical moments she .
appears to be on the scene. On her first appearance, she pleads with Hester to come with .
her to the forest and sign her name in the Black Man's book; on her second, she peers .
from her window into the darkness where the minister stands alone on the scaffold and .
cries out in anguish; on her third, she hauls the minister as a fellow-communicant of Satan .
after he has met Hester in the forest and agreed to run off. The fourth scene is the .