The recurring themes of adultery, cheating, abandonment and shameful punishment of women, dominate the novel “The Scarlet Letter”. The main protagonist Hester Prynne is condemned, after it became evident that she cheated on her husband. During her husband’s long absence, who was believed to have been lost in the sea, she had an illicit affair with minister Dimmesdale. The relationship resulted into the birth of a daughter. The mother along with the illegitimate daughter were ostracized from the society, paraded all round the town. She was forced out of the town with the rag of scarlet cloth, shaped as A, attached to her chest. The scarlet letter A symbolizes adultery. Thus, the woman had to live with this curse for the whole of her life. The wrath of public ridicule kept on darting towards her. Minister Dimmesdale did not have the courage to publicly acknowledge the child. The gross injustice, sins that he committed, by abandoning his secret lover and child, shattered him from within. A mysterious heart ailment was all he was paying in return for his vices.
Hester Prynne’s husband, Chillingworth, who appears in the later stages, adds twist to the plot. He was no match for her, being far too old. With the deep buried desire to discover her secret lover, he was very cordial towards her. Even after receiving all the criticisms, brickbats, she never revealed the identity of her lover. The fact highlights the stubborn, honest and fighting side of a woman, pitted against the raging males of a patriarchal society.