The Scarlet Letter

Why isn’t the punishment done?

Scarlet Letter Chapter 14 (XIV) Hester and the Physician

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Chillingworth tells Hester that the council thinks she may be allowed to remove the scarlet letter in due time, to which she replies that no earthly power can decide such a thing. Hester says that when her punishment is done, God will reveal it in some other way. It won't be by a bunch of hypocritical old men.