The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorn

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The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and was first published in 1850. The story takes place in the 1640s and is about a young woman by the name of Hester Prynne who falls pregnant but is unwilling to name who the father of the child is. The book is considered a masterpiece with many religious undertones that explore sin, guilt, legalism and forgiveness. It explores the results of sins that are exposed to the world as well as sins that are kept secret. Download a free copy of The Scarlet Letter PDF book by clicking the button down below.

The Scarlet Letter PDF

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Is The Scarlet Letter PDF Free To Download?

Yes, it is! The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and was published in 1850 so it is now in the public domain. You are therefore welcome to download and read it for free. We hope you enjoy it!

The Scarlet Letter Summary

The story of The Scarlet Letter takes place in Puritan, a small village in Boston, Massachusetts. A young woman by the name of Hester Prynne believes that her husband, Roger Chillingworth, died at sea. Hester has an affair with an unknown man and she falls pregnant. When a baby girl is born, the community is outraged and she is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her dress for the rest of her life. The community also makes Hester stand in the public square for three hours while people mock her.

While standing on the scaffold in the public square, Hester notices a man in the crowd and recognizes him as her husband who she believed to be dead. When he sees her and realizes what has happened he becomes obsessed with finding out who the baby’s father is as he believes that he should also be punished.

When Hester refuses to reveal who her lover is the Reverend and Minister of Hester’s church question her. Hester is imprisoned and her husband, who is a physician, comes to see her. He helps her and they discuss their marriage and Hester agrees to hide the fact that he is her husband.

When Hester is released from prison, she lives in a small cottage and does needlework to earn an income. She is shunned by the community and as time goes by her daughter Pearl is also treated badly.

In the meantime, Hester’s minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, becomes ill. Roger Chillingworth starts taking care of him and starts to suspect that the minister is in fact Pearl’s father. He torments Arthur who becomes more and more ill.

When Hester realizes how ill Arthur has become she begs her husband to release her from her vow of silence. He agrees and Hester tells Arthur that he is her husband whom she thought was dead. She convinces Arthur to leave Boston and go to Europe with her where they can start their lives over. However, before they can leave Arthur confesses that he is Pearl’s father to the community and he dies in Hester’s arms.

After Arthur’s death, Roger Chillingworth loses his appetite for revenge and also dies soon thereafter leaving Hester with a good inheritance. She moves to Europe but returns years later where she decides to still wear the scarlet letter. After Hester dies she is buried next to Arthur.

The Scarlet Letter Movies & Adaptations

Since its original publication, The Scarlet Letter has been the inspiration for many musicals, theatre productions, books movies and series. There have been just over ten movies released as well as a PBS miniseries in 1979. The latest version was released in 2015. Unfortunately, the movies never received excellent reviews and it seems that the 1979 PBS miniseries was the most well-liked.

However, in 2010 a romantic teen comedy was released by the name of “Easy A”. The movie is not directly taken from The Scarlet letter but the story does go into the psychology and the moral core of the original story. It was well received and won a Critics’ Choice Award, A Dorian Award, A MTV Movie Award as well as two Teen Choice Awards.

Easy A | 2010 Official Trailer

The Scarlet Letter | 1995 Official Trailer

The 1995 movie version of The Scarlet letter was directed by Rolan Joffé and starred Gary Oldman and Demi Moore. Unfortunately, it received horrible reviews. And some say it is possibly even the worst adaptation to date.

It was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards, winning “Worst Remake or Sequel”, and has garnered a legacy as one of the worst films ever made.

Wikipedia | The Scarlet Letter (1995 Film)

The Scarlet Letter | 2015 Official Trailer

This version of The Scarlet Letter received 6.3 / 10 on IMDb but we weren’t able to find any specific reviews on it. If you have watched it, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to know whether you would recommend it!


The Scarlet Letter is a true classic that teaches valuable lessons about love, strength, honor, weakness, judgment, and even cowardice. Download The Scarlet Letter PDF book free here.