“On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter ‘A'” (51). That one simple letter set into the bodice of a young woman named Hester Prynne, tells a story of heartache, pride, strength and triumph in the book elegantly written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850). Hawthorne’s novel provides many types of symbolism. One of such is the symbolism of a red rose bush growing outside the gates of the town prison.
Hester Prynne starts her life as an average respected young woman until she commits the loathsome crime of adultery, which forever condemns her to wear a bright scarlet “A” on her chest. The story begins with the pain she and her daughter Pearl were forced to endure. Throughout the years this pain and suffering grow from an awful burden she has to face, to pride and strength. Instead of walking around the town hiding her chest, she prominently displays her “A”. Despite how many whispers, looks of disgust, and feelings of disgrace she experiances, she continues on with her life to the best of her ability. After all the years of hurt Hester and Pearl endured alone, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale finally reveals the secret that he was the one with which Hester committed adultery, while lying on his death bed.
In the first chapter of the story a rose bush is described. One that was forced to suffer harsh weather and years of damage. Yet it survives long after all the other trees and shrubbery that once exceeded it died. Only after years of learning to adapt to its harsh surroundings does it grow to produce beautiful red roses for others to enjoy. “o…
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…om its original habitat it presents the one who chose to harm it with the pierce of hurt from its thorns, but once the thorns are know of, caution is used when handling it.
The strongest and heartiest people are those who have suffered through adversity and survived. Those people have a stronger character and are more self reliant than those sheltered from pain and suffering. Hester, Pearl, and the rose bush are all excellent examples of this. The rose bush spent years in horrible conditions to be able to one day share its beauty to the world. Pearl grew up in a life of shame, but ended up become her mother true comfort to life. Hester sinned, but she remained true to her vows, and in the end she becomes the stronger, more noble character, in the novel.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. New York, 1987.
Analysis of Shakespeare’s The Tempest – A Jungian Interpretation
A Jungian Interpretation of the Tempest
Shakespeare’s Tempest lends itself to many different levels of meaning and interpretation. The play can be seen on a realistic plane as a tale of political power and social responsibility. It can be seen as allegory examining the growth of the human spirit. The Tempest investigates marriage, love, culture. It is symbolic of man’s rational higher instincts verses his animal natural tendencies. This is a play of repentance, power, revenge and fate that can also be seen as fantasy, dream, imagination, metaphor or magic.
The Tempest should be allowed to represent many points of view, even those that the author was not consciously or unconsciously aware when he wrote it. One outlook does not invalidate the others. I propose to illustrate The Tempest as a play about what is occurring in the protagonist’s mind. To be more specific, it is the growth, maturing and individuation of Prospero. Shakespeare, in a sense of which he could not be conscious, was anticipating Freud and Jung. His servants, Ariel and Caliban, are the agents of synchronicity. By synchronicity, I mean meaningful coincidence; an acausal principle relating inner mind to the external world; a vehicle whereby the ego, if it is open, can glimpse the Self. In Jung’s terms, it is strongest when an emotional attachment exists and when there is an element of risk or death. When the subject is ready to learn, the unconscious mind can affect physical reality. By individuation, I mean, “becoming a single homogenous being …. Becoming one’s own self …. Coming into selfhood.” 1
To begin showing how this process takes place in Prospero, I would like to take issue with some traditional views of the character. Many critics see Prospero as completely in control of everything that takes place on his island. He is seen as all-knowing, having a perfect plan in place, often seen as calm, as good, as the main force of reason and logic and Man’s highest qualities. I do not dispute all of this. Prospero is an amazingly talented, wise, mature man in control of himself and his environment, but he is not perfect. This is a play showing growth and education in its characters, but most of all, the growth and education of Prospero himself. At the outset, he is a man in struggle, an embittered man, a vengeful tyrannical man; not God, unless it is the cruel anthropomorphic God of the early Old Testament.