The novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was an objective description of the life of Hester Prynne, an adulteress. The novel does not go into specific details of the thoughts of the woman except to describe the tragic nature of her character. Tragedy faces the fact that not everything in life ends happily. Therefore, tragedy raises questions about morality; what is considered right or wrong, the meaning of human existence, and the control human beings have over their own actions. Hester is a person that has lead a very tough life for which she, herself is to blame. In examining the elements of Hubris, Magnitude, and Nemesis will answer that Hester is indeed a tragic character.

Throughout the novel she faces humiliation by the other people of Boston, but never loses her sense of pride. Hester Prynne suffers enormously from the shame of her public disgrace and from the isolation of her punishment; however, she retains her self-respect and survives her punishment with dignity, grace, and ever-growing strength of character. From the moment Hester Prynne is introduced into the plot of The Scarlet Letter in chapter 2, The Marketplace, the reader realizes how prideful she is. As an adulteress, she is forced to endure ignominy by her peers and is doomed to have the letter A bound to her heart. When standing on the scaffold as punishment for her sins, she never truly falters. She holds a three-month-old infant in her arms and attempts to cover her brand with the child. However, she realizes that the baby symbolizes her sin just as much as the letter, and decides it\'s pointless. Hestersí pride is what keeps her from losing all that she holds dear; therefore it can be said that her tragic flaw is her excessive pride.

Throughout many years of her life, the people of her town considered Hester an outcast. Her daughter feels these repercussions, Pearl, as well, because she has no friends. They don\'t associate with others and some instances occurred when Puritan children would throw rocks at the two. During this time, Hester refuses to make publicly known the name of her child\'s father. To bear the weight of her punishment all alone made her even stronger. A point of magnitude that led Hester to realize that there is a future for Pearl and herself in Boston. As her life progressed, Hester became less of an outcast in the public eye. She was gifted at embroidery and was charitable to those less fortunate than she. (Although Hester was a talented seamstress, she did not make as much money as she could have because she was not allowed to sew wedding dresses. This is obviously because she had committed sins that were supposed to be confined to the sanctity of marriage.) Seven years after she had stood on the scaffold as a criminal, her letter was thought by the people to mean able as opposed to adulteress. Some time after that the public changed their views of her again and she was thought of as angel. Even though she wanted to rid herself of the letter, she knew she couldn\'t because she had to bear the consequences of her actions for the remainder of her life, or at the very least the rest of her life in the Puritan town.

In The Scarlet Letter, Hester, for her sins, received a scarlet letter, A which she had to wear upon her chest. This was the Puritan way of treating her as a criminal, for the crime of adultery. The Puritan treatment continued, because as Hester would walk through the streets, she would be looked down upon as if she were some sort of demon from Hell that committed a terrible crime. This would give her much mental anguish and grief. On the other hand, Godís treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different than just a physical token: he gave Hester the punishment of a very unique child which she named Pearl. This punishment handed down from God was a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she had done wrong, and she could not escape it. In this aspect, Pearl symbolized Godís way of punishing Hester for adultery. The way Hesters\' life was ruined for so long was