The Scarlet Letter

Hugues Merle – 1861 – The Scarlet Letter

16 March 1850 was the day on which “The Scarlet Letter” was published, becoming an instant best-seller

The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, considered this painting the finest illustration of his novel.
Set in a village in Puritan New England, it is the story of an adulteress banished from society and forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her adultery.
By depicting the woman and her daughter in a pose that recalls that of the Madonna and Child, the painter wanted to underline the themes of sin and redemption


🖍 “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

🖍 “Nessun uomo può, per un tempo considerevole, portare una faccia per sé e un’altra per la moltitudine, senza alla fine confonderle e non sapere quale delle due sia la vera.”

🖍 “Personne ne peut pendant très longtemps se montrer un visage à lui-même et en présenter un autre au reste du monde sans finir par s’y perdre et se demander lequel des deux est le vrai.”


12 thoughts on “The Scarlet Letter

  1. I read The Scarlet Letter in high school and loved it. I think Merle’s painting captures the betrayal or abandonment the mother must have felt because her lover (forgot his name) didn’t speak up or come forth, while at the same time the painting shows her tenderness she must have felt for her child.

    Liked by 3 people

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