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The Importance of the Truth in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The main characters whose lies devastate the characters in the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, are Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Hester. Each character has once told a lie either about their character or identity. First, Dimmesdale is well-known in the community as a minister who gives sermons. But the townspeople do not know about the affair between him and Hester. He lies because he does not want to give up his reputation as a minister. The effect of him lying is that he has a guilty conscience, thinks that he “sold himself to the devil”, and ironically, people view him as a saint. (Hawthorne 193). Next, Chillingworth is an old man who is well-known in the community as the town doctor who makes medicine and takes…show more content…
When Dimmesdale left the forest, after he met with Hester and Pearl, Mistress Hibbins sees him walking out of the forest and she approaches him. Dimmesdale tells a lie and says to Mistress Hibbins that he was not at the forest with anybody but his friend, Apostle Eliot. What is significant about the statement Dimmesdale makes is that not only does he know Hester, but he is the father to her child and he is a minister and ministers do not lie because they have a close relation with God. Mistress Hibbins, a witch, says that she saw Dimmesdale and Hester together in the forest. “So, reverend Sir, you have made a visit into the forest . . . Ha, ha, ha, we must needs talk thus in the daytime! You carry it off like an old hand! But at midnight, and in the forest, we shall have other talk together!” (Hawthorne 193). She is laughing and tormenting Dimmesdale because he is lying. She also taunts him by saying that something is going on between them and it needs to be revealed during the daytime. She knows that both Dimmesdale and Hester were in the forest together. She is not a hypocrite, like Dimmesdale, because she knows the truth. The purpose of her approaching Dimmesdale is for him to reveal the truth during the daytime. The effect of Dimmesdale lying is that he thinks that he “sold himself to the devil” and is no longer considered a
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