The Scarlet Letter is a novel set in the Puritan history of Massachusetts and tells the story of Hester Prynne, who has committed adultery and must wear a scarlet “A” on her chest as punishment. The letter “A” stands for adulterer, but it can also mean “adultery. ” The letters on her clothing reflect Hester’s character, for she is a strong woman who knows her own mind. The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and published in 1850. The novel became extremely popular and was arguably influential during this time period. The book has also been adapted into two movies, one released in 1917 and the other released in 1995.
The 1917 movie depicts some parts of The Scarlet Letter very accurately, but changes major plot points to fit the narrative style of the director’s time period. The film seems biased against Hester Prynne because it exaggerates some aspects of her life depicted in the book while ignoring others that are just as important to The Scarlet Letter . The more recent film adaptation stays much truer to The Scarlet Letter than its predecessor, but still takes some creative liberties that change The Scarlet Letter ‘s story. The book The Scarlet Letter is 6 chapters and 179 pages long.
The main plot of the novel The Scarlet Letter revolves around Hester Prynne, who bears a scarlet letter on her chest after committing adultery with a man known only as “the father. ” The letter stands for adulterer, but it can also mean adultery. The scarlet letter forces Hester to wear it everywhere she goes for the rest of her life in order to be publicly shamed by her sin. Her husband has left her alone for years until he returns into town while she struggles to survive without him or any other man supporting her financially, emotionally or otherwise.
When Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale returns, Hester’s husband, The Governor of Massachusetts notices that he is very sick and the two must come up with a plausible explanation as to why he looks like death. The Governor makes Dimmesdale agree to remarry Hester because The Scarlet Letter has made her an outcast and unmarriageable. The remarriage does not go over well with the community who refuses to accept their adultery and punishes them through gossip and physical abuse. Eventually, Dimmesdale reveals his guilt by revealing the truth about The Scarlet Letter .
He denounces public confession as cowardly and decides that he will reveal his sin in front of everyone during a day of prayer. He cannot bring himself to do it though and dies soon after The Governor makes him believe that The Scarlet Letter has been removed. The truth of The Scarlet Letter ‘s origin is revealed since The Governor’s wife was the only other person who knew about the adultery and she reveals this secret after Dimmesdale dies. The book ends with Hester living out her days in peace without “the father” or any man by her side, still wearing The Scarlet Letter as a reminder to herself and others of what not to do.
The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter features Lillian Gish as Hester Prynne. There are many differences between this film adaptation of The Scarlet Letter and the novel on which it is based, but most differences can be linked back to specific directors at different times periods having different opinions on how to best tell The Scarlet Letter’s story. The main difference between The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter and the novel The Scarlet Letter is that The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter changes the ending of The Scarlet Letter.
In this version, Hester Prynne reunites with Dimmesdale after he discovers that she secretly bribed the Reverend to lie about her adultery with his father. The two remarry before Dimmesdale dies in his wife’s arms once more. This ending reflects director D. W Griffith ‘s opinion on how adulterous relationships should be handled, even during a time period where divorce was not socially acceptable by most people. This ending also reflects Griffith ‘s belief that women are inherently good and must be protected at all costs since he gave Hester Prynne a happy ending in The Scarlet Letter .
The novel The Scarlet Letter ends with Hester living out her days alone, but D. W Griffith ‘s The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter gives audiences an alternate reality where she is accepted by society once more, free to remarry the man that she loves. The 1995 film The Scarlet Letter features Demi Moore as Hester Prynne and Gary Oldman as Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale. Director Roland Joffe changes some aspects of The Scarlet Letter story to better fit his own personal views on adultery and relationships between men and women during the time period period where the movie is set (17th century Massachusetts).
He has many small differences from both The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter and The Scarlet Letter novel. The main differences between The 1995 The Scarlet Letter movie and the novel The Scarlet Letter are that Dimmesdale has not yet confessed his sin before he dies, The Governor of Massachusetts does not remarry Hester Prynne since neither is married in this version of The Scarlet Letter , and there is no mention of a baby girl anywhere throughout The 1995 movie The Scarlet Letter.
In Joffe’s The 1995 film The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne still wears The Scarlet Letter as a reminder to herself and others of her sin throughout the entire time period where she struggles with living outside of society because people believe she should be punished for adultery. In Joffe’s The 1995 film remake, Hester Prynne tries to avoid The Scarlet Letter throughout The Scarlet Letter’s entirety by burying it underneath the floorboards of her home and writing a letter to The Reverend that The Governor reads and then burns.
The letter only states that The Scarlet Letter is gone, never revealing its true origins. Joffe’s The 1995 The Scarlet Letter includes Dimmesdale dying on his own, rather than in his wife’s arms as he does in The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter . This makes the story more tragic since Hester Prynne was not there as his comfort at the moment of death as she had been for Arthur Dimmesdale during every other scene they shared together throughout both The 1917 movie The Scarlet Letter and The 1995 film version of The Scarlet Letter.