The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1143 Words Feb 19th, 2018 5 Pages
Dimmesdale’s steep decline under the weight of his sin essentially causes him to become trapped in a prison of guilt, his own “desert places,” that he spends the majority of the novel attempting to escape. As Dimmesdale attempts to gauge the advantages and disadvantages of a full confession he finds himself in the midst of an intense internal battle over between his immense guilt and his crippling cowardice. On one hand, confessing would allow Dimmesdale to be freed from his guilt and be authentic with his actions, but on the other hand, confessing would also destroy his reputation among the strict Puritans. Hawthorne follows Dimmesdale’s path as he attempts battle his guilt and transitions from a stance of passivity, his indecision, to an attitude of action with his final decision to confess. In The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale is trapped between his cowardice and his guilt, his “desert places,” which ultimately leads to his downfall.
Arthur Dimmesdale's guilt controls and eventually corrupts his life because of his repugnance of confession and his own dissimulation. The Puritan Church, as well as Dimmesdale’s high position in it, becomes a mechanism for…