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The Narrator entertains the question of why Hester chose to remain in Boston and accept her punishment, rather than escape, with Pearl, to Europe, where she could live anonymously, and not have to wear the Scarlet Letter:
"But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom, which almost invariably compels human beings to linger around and haunt, ghostlike, the spot where some great and marked event has given the color to their lifetime; and still the more irresistibly, the darker the tinge that saddens it." Chapter 5, pg. 73.
Consider the word "fatality", "doom" , "saddens".....as conveyig gloom and pain.