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Hester, a New England maid of Puritan background, to please her father, marries Roger Prynne, whom she does not love. During her husband's long absence she walks the woodland lanes with her pastor, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and they soon fall in love. When a child is born to her, she is condemned to wear upon her breast the brand of Adulteress and refuses to divulge the name of the child's father. With patient resignation she faces the jeers and insults of the stern Puritan population and fights to retain her child. Hester is punished in the pillory, and when she is led to the public scaffold, Dimmesdale, who has long been eager yet fearful to share in her public shame, confesses and dies of his anguish in her arms.