As the story continues, Hester Prynne continues to be plagued by guilt and embarrassment. Every look from a fellow citizen seems to make the scarlet letter burn on her chest. Throughout all this though, Hester Prynne remains true to herself and becomes stronger because of all her trials. Reverend Dimmesdale on the other hand, becomes weaker and weaker
Guilt and shame haunt all three of the main characters in The Scarlet Letter, but how they each handle their sin will change their lives forever. Hester Prynne’s guilt is publicly exploited. She has to live with her shame for the rest of her life by wearing a scarlet letter on the breast of her gown. Arthur Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is just as guilty of adultery as Hester, but he allows his guilt to remain a secret. Instead of telling the people of his vile sin, the Reverend allows it to eat away at his rotting soul. The shame of what he has done slowly kills him. The last sinner in this guilty trio is Rodger Chillingworth. This evil man not only hides his true identity as Hester’s husband, but also mentally torments
Hester’s scarlet letter is a piece of clothing, the “SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom” (Hawthorn 51). Her interpretation of the extremity of her sins is one of self composure and calm. She views her sins solely as a "violation in the natural order" of the environment and therefore cannot even perceive her sin as being evil except through outside influence. Dimmesdale on the other hand, has a scarlet letter carved in his chest. This is revealed when Dimmesdale was giving his revelation, in which “he tore away the ministerial band from before his breast. It was revealed!” (Hawthorn 232). Dimmesdale 's personal interpretation as to the extremity of his own sins is a "violation of God 's law," which is the law that he is totally dedicated to and supported by. Dimmesdale 's interpretation of his sin is much more severe than Hester 's, it is a violation and direct contradiction of his own self consciousness and physical existence. Therefore the appearance of his A, even though it is never directly described in the novel, must be powerful, broken, and brutally dishonest (...a ghastly rapture; Hawthorne pg.95). Since the Scarlet Letter on Hester is visible to the public, she was criticized and looked down on. “This women has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die” (Hawthorn 49) is said by a female in the marketplace talking about Hester. She becomes a stronger person through living this hard life.
By revealing this small, hidden regret, he exposes Hester’s tortured state of mind. Unable to reach salvation in the town she desired to live in, she regretfully decided to leave and abandon her sorrows. The burden society placed on her with the scarlet letter was too demanding for her to handle any longer. Similarly, Arthur Dimmesdale was distressed from his ignominy. Afraid of societal repercussions, Dimmesdale had been “overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast” (102). Society’s extensive honor toward him exacerbated his pain, thus causing society to trap Dimmesdale; this prevented him from revealing his dark secret and reaching salvation. Additionally, he began to picture his surroundings as an obstacle designed to hinder his path to redemption. His shortcoming to reach salvation agonized Dimmesdale to the point where he was incapable of recalling “[any] text of Scripture, nor aught else, except a brief, pithy, and, as it then appeared to him, unanswerable argument against the immorality of
Arthur Dimmesdale has continually suffered because of the sin he has committed. He is tortured by his only friend who is really his enemy. He grows weaker day by day because he will not confess his sin. He starves himself and whips himself. He has a daughter but no one can know. People look up to him and he does not want to let them down. If only people knew that he committed adultery with Hester Prynne. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, the author writes, “While standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr.Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at the scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart. On that spot, in very truth was, and there had long been,
Dimmesdale is a symbol of dishonesty and is a self-centered individual; he knows what he must do in order to make it honorable but lacks the courage and confidence to make himself public. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester tells Dimmesdale that the ship for Europe leaves in four days. He is delighted with the matter of being able to "fulfill his public duties" and give his Election Sermon before leaving. Although from this disdainful act, he worries that the congregation may notice the features found in Pearl’s face may be identical to his
Dimmesdale realizes that he must confess his sin and face whatever consequences may lie ahead of him, whether or not his confession is seven years past due. Before reaching the “well-remembered and weather-darkened scaffold,” where Hester Prynne had encountered the “world’s ignominious stare,” Arthur Dimmesdale cautiously comes to a pause (246). Only two people in the crowd, Roger Chillingworth (Hester’s husband) and Hester Prynne, understand why Dimmesdale halts before ascending up the scaffold. He will finally reveal his identity to the town and release the guilt that has built inside of him for seven years. As Hester and Pearl are about to accompany Dimmesdale up to the scaffold, Chillingworth “trusts himself through the crowd” – or, from Hawthorne’s description, “so dark, disturbed, and evil was his look,” Chillingworth “rose up out of some nether region to snatch back his victim from what he sought to do” (247). Ignoring Chillingworth’s effort to stop Dimmesdale, the three mount the scaffold and face the eager crowd. In one of Dimmesdale’s final speeches, he claims that Hester’s scarlet letter “is but the shadow of what he bears on his own breast” (250). The moment after Dimmesdale reveals his ‘scarlet letter’, he stood “with a flush of triumph in his face as one who had won a victory” (251). As Dimmesdale had wished, his remorse and internal pain is forgotten once he reveals his true identity, allowing his soul to experience its elapsed freedom.
As the loved pastor whose undisclosed guilt destroyed him and the secret lover of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale is an interesting character in The Scarlet Letter and plays an important role throughout the book. Dimmesdale is a “Reverend” and pastor at the church. His interactions with the other main characters in the book such as Roger Chillingworth, Hester Prynne, and Pearl are secretive and painful, and display his inner pain. Hester had committed adultery, against her husband with one that she would not name! The scarlet letter would burn forever on her chest and secretly, on his, as the guilt sears him and kills him slowly.
In the Scarlet Letter there are characters that are important to the novel; however there is one specific character that relates to the topic of the story is Arthur Dimmesdale. The character Arthur Dimmesdale is a respected minster in Boston. However even though, Arthur Dimmesdale is a minister and preaches against sin to his congregation, he commits the ultimate sin with a young married woman named Hester Pryne. For punishment Hester Pryne becomes pregnant and shunned from public society, Dimmesdale is forced to live with guilt and later in the novel dies from the same sin within his body. Critics that have read the Scarlet letter would argue that Dimmesdale is a weak or ennobled character because he didn’t tell the community of his sinful crime. Another characteristic that critics would agree on is that Dimmesdale was a hypocrite. Arthur Dimmesdale is a character that is weak and hypocritical to his own belief.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Arthur Dimmesdale as a troubled individual. In him lies the central conflict of the book. Dimmesdale's soul is torn between two opposing forces: his heart, his love for freedom and his passion for Hester Prynne, and his head, his knowledge of Puritanism and its denial of fleshly love. He has committed the sin of adultery but cannot seek divine forgiveness, believing as the Puritans did that sinners received no grace. His dilemma, his struggle to cope with sin, manifests itself in the three scaffold scenes depicted in The Scarlet Letter. These scenes form a progression through which Dimmesdale at first denies, then accepts reluctantly, and finally conquers his sin.
Dimmesdale has a largely different approach to dealing with his sin. Arthur Dimmesdale handles his terrible guilt by concealing it to himself. To overcome it he would whip himself, and take long walks into the forest. Dimmesdale’s act of concealing his guilt shows that he is not brave enough to tell all and there for he must live fearfully and cowardly. This guilt he has chose to endure is much worse than any shame he would have felt had he just confessed his sin of adultery with Hester. Since he was a moral leader in his town he felt an obligation to keep it a secret but like in many cases where guilt is concealed, the sinner eventually reasons enough to confess. Dimmesdale does the same and confesses his sin to the townspeople. “He longed to speak out from his own pulpit, at the full height of his voice, and tell his people who he was.”
Dimmesdale longs to confess his sin, but he cannot bring himself to do it. Dimmesdale has visions and delusions and begins to think falsely about the world. Dimmesdale feels as if there is a scarlet letter on his chest. When Dimmesdale brings himself to the platform where Hester was punished, Hester and Pearl join him. Pearl asks him if he will stand with them on the platform and he tells her on judgement day that he will. After time passes, people begin to think differently about Hester and the scarlet letter. They now consider the letter to be a sign of her strength. When Hester meets again with Roger Chillingworth she tells him that she must reveal the secret for the good of Mr. Dimmesdale. Hester wants Chillingworth to stop the evil practices
Guilt can destroy someone mentally. According to The Scarlet Letter, it can destroy someone physically as well. Dimmesdale is one of the main characters who chose to keep his sin a secret. Not only does he have to live with the knowledge and guilt of what he did, but he has to constantly pretend that he is more pure than he is. The people of the Puritan town tortured him in a way, because the large amount of praise they gave the minister just made him more guilty and remorseful. The novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne takes place in a 1600’s Puritan community named Massachusetts Bay Colony. Dimmesdale has had an affair with the main character, Hester Prynne. He never confessed to his actions, so he never suffered any direct consequences. Because of this, the puritan town’s view of Dimmesdale stays relatively the same throughout the novel, until the ending. Dimmesdale has been kept down heavily from the guilt and remorse brought from keeping his sin a secret.
Dimmesdale, before the Scarlet letter, was a most beloved Reverend, but after the Scarlet letter, it wasn't that simple. After Dimmesdale commits adultery, he faces isolation from the townspeople, who all think he is innocent. With the townspeople, the isolation is more of an internal thing within Dimmesdale. As their pastor, Dimmesdale is still responsible for their preaching; so while The whole town is condemning Hester, they are getting their spiritual fill ups from the other person in need of equal condemnation. Dimmesdale is forced to put up a facade of his emotions from his townspeople so they will not grow suspicious. The quote "No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."(145). Shows that Dimmesdale will eventually come out but, even after he admits to the adultery, the people to not believe it to be true.
In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, both Dimmesdale and Hester have grievously sinned in the eyes of the Puritan community. However, while Hester lives with her guilt publicly displayed in the form of the scarlet letter and Pearl, Dimmesdale hides his sin from the community and tries to continue as their saintly pastor. Yet, this concealment is not without consequences, as Dimmesdale suffers from horrible guilt as he denies his sin from his community, and thus denies himself forgiveness for his sin. Finally resolving to tell the truth on his deathbed, Dimmesdale dies after triumphantly punishment of having Chillingworth and Pearl as his personal tormentors. However, though Dimmesdale manages to overcome Chillingworth and Pearl, he