The scarlet letter had not done its office.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, from The Scarlet Letter, Chapter XIII
The deeper I get into The Scarlet Letter, the more I wonder who the novel is really about. It may be less about Hester Prynne and more about the drama unfolding with Roger Chillingworth, the wronged husband on his quest for vengeance, and Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister who’s fathered Hester’s, out-of-wedlock baby.
And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart. On that spot, in very truth, there was, and there had long been, the gnawing and poisonous tooth of bodily pain.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, from The Scarlet Letter, Chapter XII