The Scaffold in The Scarlet Letter: Scenes & Symbolism


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At the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, what happens to Hester at the scaffold?

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1. In The Scarlet Letter, why is Hester's punishment on the scaffold such a public concern?

2. In The Scarlet Letter, when Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl stand together at midnight on the scaffold, what does the scaffold symbolize?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Use this combination of quiz and worksheet as a tool to measure how well you have grasped the meaning of Hawthorne's use of the scaffold, Hester's initial humiliation and final triumph, and Dimmesdale's inward shame as the story progresses. You will answer questions concerning why the community places her on it, what Hester faces as she stands there, and what ultimately takes place there.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

Use the quiz and worksheet to test yourself on:

  • What the scaffold actually symbolizes
  • How the scaffold's meaning changes
  • Why the townspeople saw such importance in Hester's shame

Skills Practiced

  • Reading comprehension - confirm your understanding of the use of the scaffold as a plot device and symbolic reference
  • Interpreting information - verify that you can read information about Hester's behavior when she faces the townspeople on the scaffold
  • Information recall - access the knowledge you've gained about Reverend Dimmesdale's final action upon the scaffold

Additional Learning

To study the meaning of the scaffold in greater depth, access The Scaffold in The Scarlet Letter: Scenes & Symbolism. This lesson covers the objectives shown and more:

  • Explore how and why Hawthorne uses the scaffold throughout the story
  • Learn about the setting of the novel
  • Analyze how Puritan society views sin, morality and the possibility of redemption