Hawthorne is just that, the tragic story of Hester Prynne, a women found guilty of adultery, her rejection, public humiliation, and her inner feelings and the effect on her community in 1850. It is a tragic story. Hawthorne tries to bring some hope into the story, but largely it is a book of despair. With skill, he shares the paradox in human nature and sets off his romantic ideas against the rigid religious Puritan culture. The main question is why Hawthorne had to give it a tragic end? Was it essential to the success of his communication? I do not think so.
Hester is the principle character in the story line. She is branded and adulteress and must wear a scarlet A on her dress. Yet she is a strong likeable person. As Hawthorne develops his story, she goes through difficult times. We are given insight into her conflict and herself rejection. This creates an empathy for Hester and creates the desire that she finds happiness. As she is the tragic hero in the story, it becomes clear that she will not find happiness. Her downfall is inevitable, but such is Hawthorne’s power that you keep hoping she will overcome. Hawthorne deliberately hints to possible redemption.