Heroism Of A Puritan Society

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Heroism in a Puritan Society: Arthur Dimmesdale as a Weakling

Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the most intellectual and sophisticated writers known to man, creatively interpreted common themes and entwined them into his literary work by enhancing the characterization within his novels. Taking the characters he created and giving them intricate and deep involvement gives his writing a more detailed and elaborate perception of its themes, specifically heroism in his novel The Scarlet Letter. The novel takes place within a theocratic community where Puritan values and beliefs are worshiped, and societal standards are raised and demanded to be followed. When Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a well-respected minister, commit adultery, …show more content…

Does committing a crime make one unheroic? What truly determines whether or not a person is considered a “hero”? The decision on who is truly heroic can be left to the reader, but how Hawthorne portrays his characters can be depicted through his writing. Due to his lack of mental, emotional, and physical strength, his crumbling moral stability, and his chronic hypocritical behavior, Dimmesdale is depicted as an unheroic character.
Throughout the novel, Dimmesdale’s overall strength continues to worsen. He could even be considered a weakling from before the novel begins, due to his lack of self-control and emotional restraint when he commits adultery with Hester. He is lured into the realm of sin and fails to resist temptation, and he lacks the emotional strength to realize Hester’s involvement is morally wrong. Even after making his mistake, he cannot find the courage within himself to confess and realize the value of self-forgiveness as Hester did. When Hester publicly confesses on the scaffolding, Dimmesdale berates her and begs her to tell of the father, proving immediate denial and malevolence is his defense mechanism against his lack of emotional and moral strength. When Chillingworth suspects of Dimmesdale’s guilt, he offers to be his personal physician only resulting in further deterioration of Dimmesdale’s mentality. His mentality hits rock bottom when he pitifully

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