Three Scaffold Scenes - Progression of Dimmesdale

814 WordsOct 8, 19994 Pages
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. <br> <br>During Hester…show more content…
However, the forgiveness he seeks most lies in <br> <br>" ‘My little Pearl,' said he, feebly-and there was a sweet and gentle smile over his face, as of a spirit sinking into a deep repose; nay, now that the burden was removed, it seemed almost as if he would be sportive with the child-‘dear little Pearl, wilt thou kiss me now? Thou wouldst not, yonder, in the forest! But now thou wilt!' " (251) <br> <br>As "Pearl kissed his lips…a spell was broken"(251) and his sin was forgiven. Arthur Dimmesdale finally dies in a "triumphant ignominy" where all have forgiven him, including himself. <br> <br>In the final scene, Dimmesdale overcomes the grip of Puritanism and turns directly to God. "With God's help, I will escape thee now," he says to Chillingworth. In fact, he does escape Satan, commending himself into the hands of grace. Dimmesdale finally wins his battle against evil. He faces God and dies with an open conscience, knowing of his salvation and freedom from
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