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Arthur Dimmesdale Essay

759 words - 4 pages

“On a field, sable, the letter A, Gules.” (240) The novel The Scarlet letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Arthur Dimmesdale, Reverend of a small Puritan town of Boston, Massachusetts, falls guilty to sin that only death brings to light. As he is seen to be an angelic, godly figure that can do no wrong in the eyes of the colonists, scandal breaks through the colony when a young Hester Prynne, a married women, pregnant by an unknown lover. She is punished to stand on the scaffolding with her child, and is made to where a red letter A, standing for adultery. Dimmesdale is a victim of the most basic human weaknesses of sin. His fall from grace creates an inner struggle of guilt, and pride that propels him on a self- destructive path that ends in his salvation on the public scaffold.
Arthur Dimmesdale is the co-sinner with Hester in the creation of the child Pearl. Arthur worried about reputation could not admit that he should be standing beside her, because he was too cowardly to admit his part because of his guilt and that guilt literally ate him alive. “His fame, though still on the upward slope, already overshadowed the soberer reputations of his fellow-clergymen, eminent as several of them were.” (130) This shows his internal struggle between his pride of fame and position in the community and the guilt in wanting to reveal his sin. The guilt causes him to whip himself in the privacy of his own room. This leads to him finally displaying in public a physical manifestation of his guilt by ripping open his shirt. “Most of the spectators testified to having seen, on the breast of the unhappy minister, a scarlet letter, the very semblance of that worn by Hester Prynne, imprinted in the flesh.” (234)
Very near death, Arthur Dimmesdale met his inevitable salvation on the public scaffold. After the meeting between Hester and Dimmesdale, the assumption is made the Dimmesdale will pull through and be alright, but as he makes his way back to town he thinks to himself about the fact of lessening a sin with a lesser sin does not make the sin already committed any better. He...

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