『주홍글자』에 나타난 자연과 등장인물의 상징성
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- This study is to analyze the symbolism of nature and characters shown in the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This study analyzed its symbolism based on the spiritual background of the age and especially focused the symbolism of nature and characters on the Puritanism and Transcendentalism.
The rose bush takes the part of resistance against Puritanism and Puritanical society also plays an important role as an embodiment of humane heart of nature. The sunlight that also has many-sided symbolic meanings and finally is the forest which is depicted as a place where witches gather and where souls are signed away to devil. The rose bush symbolizes the sympathy to the sorrow and frailty of human beings for the cold-heartedness of the Puritans. The weeds in front of the prison door and its color in the said work symbolized the dark and strict aspects of the Puritanism, while the red color of the rose created the opposite atmosphere. The author wanted the rose bush to ease the dark side of his work and gave the reader a sign of his double-sided attitude. The sunshine has been considered as various symbolic meanings by many critics; however, it seemed that it would be the exposure of human disposition shown to human beings by nature. Obviously, it could be interpreted as a fastidious attitude of the Puritans on crime.
I analyzed symbolism of characters. Hester who is the most complicated and has various aspects and Dimmesdale is a man shown well his sin through psychology, finally Chillingworth who is original character. It is significant to notice that such persons as Hester and Dimmesdale who do their utmost to overcome the natural depravity eventually attain not only the moral growth and spiritual harmony but also salvation. And nature also shows them sympathy. It is also important that nature has some characteristics when it sympathizes with human being. Nature does not show sympathy until the human being decides to live by nature denying human-law. Hester had to suffer from the fate of dishonor and that had to put the scarlet letter after having an extramarital love affair with Reverend Dimmsdale, and had to be confined in the prison. The sunlight shining to Hester who have just finished the term of her imprisonment was depicted only as the intention of exposing the symbol of dishonor. However, the sunlight appeared at the time of her throwing away in the forest the scarlet letter put on her chest as an intention of escaping from all restriction that has confined her could be seen as the disposition of nature with pagan attitude against the Puritanism. After all, the sunlight could be interpreted as the fastidious attitude towards crime, or nature's evil attitude even if it would disappear in sooner time in the opinions and position of the Puritans, or the lack of sympathy, while it was the exposure of human disposition of nature or the approval of God and nature in the point of Transcendentalism.
In conclusion, we should understand the symbols of nature and characters not only are based on Transcendentalism and Puritanism, but also can be different in the various aspect.
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