The black swan is a symbol of Hester’s soul; the great fire reflects a witch’s purification, it is a kind of a cleansing ritual; Catwoman, who opens a world of ‘unreal’ for Hester and guides her through it, stands for the Master of a Witch Art. Catwoman embodies superstition. Though blind, she sees the future and recognizes Hester as a sister witch. However, is Hester indeed a witch? Her lover, Carthage left her for another woman, younger, more pretty, more wealthy. The whole village left her, she has no close friend with whom she could share her tragedy, despair and life failure.Order now
Even her own daughter, Josie, is more connected with the father than the mother who brought her up just by herself. Hester is getting older evry day while her life is becoming more and more complicated. She could have seemed merely selfish and self-destructive, but Marina Carr slowly unveils layers of hurt and pain beneath Hester’s defiance. Hester feels weak, abandoned, left by her attractiveness, controlless, heart-broken, which all leads her directly towards madness. She is unable to change her fate, she cannot control her own emotions, sense of being and morality.
She even loses her dignity. She is a scorned woman who experiences a tragic downfall. She balances between right and wrong, torments herself with dreams that are impossible to come true. She carries a vision of her happiness with her beloved man and daughter and this disillusion raises her anger and hatred towards the society she lives in , and what is interesting – towards those whom she loves. Concerning the fact that Hester could have been a witch, would it not be obvious that she would do something to prevent her breakdown?
Using supernatural forces based on her knowledge of magic she could have made Carthage stay with her, could have caused that the society would respect her nature, emotions and style of life. She could have destroyed all the lack of love, unhappiness and despair surrounding her. She could have even performed her witch rituals in order to foresee what is going to happen and could have avoided it through employing her magic. She could have done anything having the help of her supernatural power. Instead, she used more physical, down-to-earth practices which did not bring her any benefits.
She used them as a tool for revenge, as an embodiment of her anger. Hester burned down the house to prevent Carthage to move in there with his young wife; she killed her child to hurt Carthage’s feelings, as he loved his daughter very much, and in order not to experience her child’s lack of love towards her; she killed herself to end her constant pain and in order to avoid the necessity of facing the fate. All this indicates her inability to stear her life and deeds in a reasonable way and shows the lack of the power that an ordinary witch possesses. However, Hester could have been a witch but an extraordinary one.
The one who felt some moral laws towards her future and thus, the obligation that prevented her of changing it. Maybe she has decided to let the events happen by themselves as she belived that interferring is pointless for the love and happiness she would evoke would not be real. Maybe she believs in a true love, in Carthage’s devotion and her daughter’s appreciation for what she has done to raise and protect her. Maybe she was a witch dominated by human values. Whether Hester Swane was or was not a witch, depends on the reader whose definition of a witch influences the result of the devagations above.