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Anna Karenina and Hester Prynne

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Michelle Ruiz English 12 IB Anna Karenina and Hester Prynne A tragic hero is the main character that posses a tragic flaw that causes his or her downfall. In addition, the tragic hero develops specific characteristics, where the reader should feel pity for the hero as they see his or her successive tragedy. In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the character Hester Prynne is view as a tragic heroine. Hester Prynne commits adultery and under Puritan laws, she has to wear a symbol for the rest of her life. Under her punishment, Hester Prynne suffers from the consequences of her sin and develops a tragic flaw that contributes to her downfall. In Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, the main character Anna Arkadyevna Karenina is also seen as a tragic heroine. Anna Karenina, a beautiful and elegant housewife falls in love with Count Vronsky. The adulterous relationship disturbs the position in society of Anna Karenina and Vronsky. Anna Karenina's tragedy or downfall is produce by her distinct and powerful selfishness. ...read more.


Karenin still admits, "I'm unforgivably happy, something magical has happened to me, like a dream"(pg.613) Dolly also admires her beauty, and despite all her suffering, pain and moral she continues to be a sophisticated and radiant. Similarly, Hester's and Anna's extremism to fulfill what they believe lead them to their tragedy. Prynne reveals a special characteristic in chapter thirteen where the meaning of the scarlet letter changes. Hester Prynne despite all her public humiliation and her constant suffering, she becomes altruist. Prynne devotes part of her time to charity; helping the poor, the ill and women go to her in search of advice. Therefore, Hester is view as an Angel, changing the previous meaning of adultery. In addition, Hester is shown as an intelligent and capable woman since she was able to show society her sin and to not give up easily. Her decision to help Puritan community, even though they denigrated her, illustrates her sensitivity and intelligence. Anna is intelligent and literate, a reader of English novels and a writer of children's books she also "studied all the subjects ...read more.


Hester remains alienated from everyone, including the town fathers, respected women, beggars, children, and even strangers. Furthermore, Hester remains able to support herself due to her uncommon talent in needlework but brides will not wear the product of Hester Prynne's hands. Therefore, as Anna Karenina, Hester Prynne is alienated and isolated from the rest of the community. Anna Karenina also lives the consequences of her extramarital affair. Anna lives in disgrace and shame, after deciding to leave her husband, son and society. The scandalous aristocratic people, encourages Anna to leave St. Petersburgo. An example of Anna's social isolation occurs at the scene where Anna attends the opera. Anna is insulted by acquaintances in the neighboring box creating a painful and forced ostracism. Therefore, Anna and Vronsky live in exile; at the country Vozdvizhenskoe. Furthermore, Anna's freedom and disconnection of her surroundings provide her with leisure. Consequently, Anna has more time to analyze her life and Vronsky's actions and becomes extremely insecure. She became jealous "Having as yet no object for jealousy, she was looking for one"(pg. 751). Evidently, Anna Karenina and Hester Prynne suffer from society disaffection and negligence. ...read more.

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