Arthur Dimmesdale is a character portrayed in both the light and the dark by having passion for helping people yet by hiding his sin by holding “his hand over his heart” (Hawthorne 110). Even as a minister he struggled with the conflict of evil
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.
Guilt, shame, and penitence are just a few of the emotions that are often associated with a great act of sin. Mr. Arthur Dimmesdale, a highly respected minister of a 17th century Puritan community, is true example of this as he was somehow affected by all of these emotions after committing adultery. Due to the seven years of torturous internal struggle that finally resulted in his untimely death, Mr. Dimmesdale is the character who suffered the most throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Mr. Dimmesdale’s ever present guilt and boundless penance cause him an ongoing mental struggle of remorse and his conscience as well as deep physical pain from deprivation and self inflicted wounds. The external influence of the members of
Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter conveys the war between passion and responsibility, and how it concerns moral duty. Conflicts which Reverend Dimmesdale faces show readers how difficult it can be to come forward and reveal your sins. The circumstances which victimized Dimmesdale made it harder for him to accept responsibility publicly, which is the foundation of much of this novel. Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale’s character to convey the true struggle between passion and responsibility in The Scarlet Letter. While Dimmesdale yearned to face his sins, his passion overpowered him and took over the
Arthur Dimmesdale’s guilt began to destroy him. In chapter 11 it says, “In Mr. Dimmesdale’s secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders, laughing
All of the major characters in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne are dynamic and go through some form of character development. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, who are at the forefront of the central conflict in the plot of the novel, are no exception. While their respective evolutions in character were noticeably different, each was emphasized by the three scaffold scenes. The differences of Hester and Dimmesdale’s respective character developments are highlighted and emphasized by the three scaffold scenes in the novel.
"Life is hard, but accepting that fact makes it easier." This common phrase clearly states a harsh fact that Rev. Dimmesdale, a character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, had to face. In this story of deception and adultery set in the Puritan era, Hawthorne introduces Dimmesdale as a weak and cowardly man who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. The Rev. Dimmesdale is a transitional character in that he is, at the beginning of the novel, outwardly good but inwardly deceitful and by the end of the novel he becomes both outwardly and inwardly truthful.
Dimmesdale’s guilt was evident in his physical condition and how he often clutched his hand over his heart—a symbol that he felt same agony of the letter “A” because he was a partaker of the sin. Furthermore, the minister’s unease is shown in chapter twenty when he fears that he has made a bargain with the “black man.” When Dimmesdale returned to town from the forest, he began to get tempted in several incidences with people of all ages and genders. However, he did not fall into temptation. Once again, Dimmesdale felt the support and strength of God, and it was ultimately God’s grace that made him victorious over the temptations and his fear towards the devil. With God in his life, Dimmesdale did not feel confused instead he had a focus and a burst of energy rise in him. After the reconciliation between the minister and God, Dimmesdale showed a sign of strength as he confronted Chillingworth and confessed to the doctor that he will no longer be taking the medicine. Chapter twenty shows the importance of God in Dimmesdale’s life. When life was chaotic, God was there to remedy the problems and get Dimmesdale to focus. The minister shows his awe and gratitude to God by humbly saying how God could use a “…foul…organ-pipe as he [Dimmesdale].” In addition, Dimmesdale’s psychological strength is shown when he decides to rewrite the Election Sermon and he is so enthusiastic about the speech that time “fled away”
Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, proves to be a sinner against man, against God and most importantly against himself because he has committed adultery with Hester Prynne, resulting in an illegitimate child, Pearl. His sinning against himself, for which he ultimately paid the
The Scarlet Letter is a book filled with sins of many different kinds. There is lying, adultery, and transgressions throughout the novel. However, there is a man who consistently models all these sins together--Arthur Dimmesdale. He is guilty of lying to his people, encouraging a woman to cheat on her husband, and committing transgressions against God and man. For this, he has sinned the worst of all characters.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, a well-know Dark Romantic, employs the issues prevalent in Dark Romanticism in his novel The Scarlet Letter. These include the concepts of: guilt and sin, good and evil, and madness in the human psyche. Guilt and sin are heavily addressed in the novel, focusing on Hester’s outward versus Dimmesdale’s hidden guilt, and the sins committed by the adulterous couple and the revenge-driven Roger Chillingworth. The idea of what good and evil are is questioned in the novel. For example, the reader is led to question if Hester was right in not revealing Dimmesdale, and in turn if both Dimmesdale and Chillingworth were
Moreover, in The Scarlet Letter, the scarlet letter symbolizes Arthur Dimmesdale’s guilt because he feels like god is punishing him for not confessing to his crime of adultery but in reality Roger Chillingworth is the one torturing him to confess. For example, “By sending yonder dark and terrible old man, to keep always at red heat.” (Hawthorne,1850) Hawthorne also uses dramatic irony because although the Roger Chillingworth is torturing Arthur Dimmesdale, he does not realize it. The Scarlet Letter demonstrates how a noble person can oftentimes be blinded by their conscience and not realize the person who they think is helping them is actually hurting them.
Nothing good ever happens in the dark, that is where the face of sin hides. Throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, elements of light and dark are seen connected with sin, secrets, purity, and confession. Hawthorne precisely choices language throughout this novel that use light and darkness as elements to represent, the darkness in evil, and the goodness in light. Hawthorne writes using these elements focusing on great attention on Dimmesdale until the end of the novel. Dimmesdale hides his greatest sins in the shadows, he is plaguing his mind, body, and sole as he battles with the final confession of his crime.
In The Scarlet Letter Hypocrisy is evident everywhere. The characters of Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and the very society that the characters lived in, were steeped in hypocrisy. Hawthorne was not subtle in his portrayal of the terrible sin of hypocrisy; he made sure it was easy to see the sin at work , at the same time however, parallels can be drawn between the characters of The Scarlet Letter and of today’s society.
The guilt that plagues Arthur Dimmesdale, leads to the climax of the novel, in which Dimmesdale overcomes his inner conflict. Throughout the entire book, Dimmesdale has struggled with trying to reveal what he has done. At first he is to cowardly to do this, but eventually Dimmesdale realizes the only way to redeem himself is to confess his sins and repent. Knowing it is the only way to redemption, Dimmesdale goes before the whole town, with Hester and Pearl, and reveals his sin to the people. Dimmesdale’s