Adulterous relationships always end in pain. Examples of such pain are present throughout the intricate web of time. From Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, to the media buffet of Bill Clinton, adultery leaves pain. Hester embodies this pain. Not in pity but in cause. She embodies pain.
Pain of loss, suffering. The pain of adulterous relationships. The universal wronging of adultery is deserving of such pain. Even in present times, with views much lax than puritan epoch, the wrong exists in full force, and just as deserving. Nathaniel Hawthorn's 'The Scarlet Letter' deals in the justice of adultery. Wronging.
This simple word exemplifies all things that one could do to destroy any sort of bond between two objects. A politician wrongs a public, a teacher wrongs a student, a boss wrongs an employee. A wife wrongs a husband. Wronging is universal in its presentation. The act which juxtaposes the wrong remain unimportant, it's the simple wronging which exists most corporeal.
Hester wronged. She wronged more than her husband, but deeper, she wronged herself, and because of her times she wronged her god. Wronging deserves punishment. 'Before the ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass plot, much overgrown with burdock, pigweed, apple peru, and such unsightly nail in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison.' Almost parallel to Hester's deserving of pain stands a prison.
Born out of civilized society springs a prison, a home of villainy. A breading ground for the wrong. What building more deserving, and what woman? Hester became a prison. Holding in the wrongness of her sin.
Her justice was to carry out it's sentence. 'It may be less soothing than a sinless conscience. That I cannot give you.' Truly spoken from Nathaniel Hawthorn's text. Hester's wronging was her cross to bear and hers alone. Much like when Christ made a walk to his own crucifixion, so must Hester, deserving, make a walk through life bearing her A shaped cross.
However, religion is a rather minor reason for her rightful punishment. The feelings and morals of the time dictate right and wrong. Presently we have values and views quite different than those of Hesters period, but the wrongness of her act of adultery remain universal. Even to this day, with views much lax of those Puritans in question, her wrong remains quite acute. What is right? Right is what people of the time dictate.
And even now, adultery is quite wrong. 'If the hussy stood up for judgment before us five, that are now here in a knot together, would she come off with such a sentence as the worshipful magistrates have awarded? Marry, I trow knot!' The word judgment presented itself in the previous quote. Judgment on a topic is what makes a feeling, Right and Wrong are both feelings. If one removes the emotion from the situation it becomes simply a fact. Hester slept with another man besides her husband. But add the feelings of the time, one simple fact becomes a universal wrong.
In the eyes of those around her, she was deserving of her pain. Of course presently, Hesters punishment would never be fully executed to the extent in which Hawthorne's text elaborates. However, the act is still punished. Be it humiliation or financial loss through divorce 'The public opinion's till punishes to a great extent. Even worse in Hesters case, her wanton disregard for morals embarrassed everyone in the town.
'This woman has brought shame upon us all and ought to die!' So horrible was her wrong that even those who resided within her own village felt the heat of her sin. A sin so universally wrong that even today brings about a sense of depravity. Who deserves justice? Who needs justice? Hester Prynne, and none other. Hester Prynne was a strumpet who got what she deserved. Her lewd acts only fulfilled a lustful desire that spoke against everything right a true in her age.
In her time and ours, sleeping with another man while in the institution of marriage is punishable and universally wrong. She knowingly besmirched herself aware of the consequences and deserved everything she was forced to bear. The totality of her wrong spans across many levels; husband, marriage, townsfolk's, God, herself. Even today we have the same sentiment towards people of her nature. Nathaniel Hawthorn's 'The Scarlet Letter' deals in the justice of adultery.