The Scarlet Letter

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Governor Bellingham Character Analysis

The governor of Boston and the brother of Mistress Hibbins. Bellingham conducts himself like an aristocrat, enjoying money, luxury, and the privileges of power. Yet when it comes to the actions of others, Governor Bellingham punishes any behavior that does not fit with the strict Puritan rules of behavior. This makes him a hard-hearted hypocrite. For instance, even while employing Hester to do fancy needlepoint for him, he tries to take Pearl from her, arguing that as an adulterer she's an unfit mother. Later, he convicts and executes his own sister of practicing witchcraft.
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Governor Bellingham Character Timeline in The Scarlet Letter

The timeline below shows where the character Governor Bellingham appears in The Scarlet Letter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
Governor Bellingham, a judge, and other officials observe the "spectacle" of Hester's punishment on the scaffold.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Puritanism Theme Icon
...supports herself as a seamstress. The same people who pay her for her work, including Governor Bellingham, continue to shun her. (full context)
Chapter 7
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
Hester goes to visit Governor Bellingham to inquire about these rumors and to deliver a pair of gloves that she... (full context)
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
They arrive and find the Governor's residence decorated with armor and dark formal portraits, relics from Bellingham's English roots. (full context)
Sin Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
...England, but which contains some rose bushes. Pearl begs for a rose just as the Governor approaches with other gentleman. (full context)
Chapter 8
Sin Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
The Occult Theme Icon
John Wilson, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale arrive at the Governor's residence. The men tease Pearl, calling her a demon-child because of her scarlet clothing, but... (full context)
Sin Theme Icon
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
The Governor asks Hester how she can justify keeping Pearl. Hester says she'll teach Pearl what she's... (full context)
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
The Governor, alarmed by this response, suggests that they conduct a closer investigation into Hester's fitness as... (full context)
Individuality and Conformity Theme Icon
Puritanism Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
The Occult Theme Icon
Dimmesdale's speech convinces the Governor not to take Pearl from Hester. On their way out of the Governor's residence, Hester... (full context)