By the Bog of Cats

By the Bog of Cats Imagery


The Catwoman is a very distinctive-looking character, a blind prophet in a coat made of cat fur. Carr describes her as "...a woman in her late fifties, stained a streaky brown from the bog, a coat of cat fur that reaches to the ground, studded with cats' eyes and cats' paws. She is blind and carries a stick." The Catwoman is an almost supernatural being, someone who has merged with the environment around her.

Wedding dress

Hester crashes Carthage's wedding wearing a wedding dress of her own. This means that four women onstage are all wearing white at the wedding. Caroline, the bride, wears white, Josie wears her white Communion dress, Mrs. Kilbride wears a white dress, and Hester wears her wedding dress. The image is that of a groom with four brides, an image that reflects the confusion and the power struggles central to the narrative.

Burning farm

Act 3 opens with Hester sitting in front of Carthage's farm, which she has set on fire. It is a haunting image of a woman who has wreaked havoc on someone's life and seems completely unfazed. She is wearing a dirty wedding dress as the place that she says she holds most dear is ablaze. It is an image that reflects Hester's destructive instincts.


The image of Hester slitting her own daughter's throat is perhaps the most striking and disturbing image in the whole play. Bent on destruction and taking down everything with her, Hester kills the seven-year-old Josie with the same fishing knife she used to kill her brother Joseph. It is a terrifying and shocking image, one that calls to mind the epic Greek tragedy on which this play is based, Medea.