Near the end of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale meet in the woods and talk. At the end of this conversation they seem intent on returning to Europe to marry.

Is this plan at all plausible? After all, she's married to someone else, and they are adulterers. Was there really a country in Europe where they could have married? Was there any way to justify this action religiously?

From a certain point of view, it would seem more plausible that they should arrive in Europe and lie to the community that they join there. Hester might claim that she and Dimmesdale are simply a married couple and the parents of Pearl; or she might claim to be the widow of Pearl's father, and then arrange a wedding ceremony with Dimmesdale after arriving in their new community.

But that would be adultery, wouldn't it? They would simply be pretending that they are married to each other, regardless of the lie that satisfied the legal or social scrutiny. Can we suppose that both of them have rejected morality so totally, suddenly and simultaneously?

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