The Character of Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter
In The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is considered a very honorable person by almost everyone in the Puritan town. Practically no one would believe that he would have the ability to do any evil, much less the sin of adultery. On the contrary, Dimmesdale feels that he is a terrible person for committing this sin and not admitting it to the townspeople. This fact affects him greatly yet unexpectedly increases his popularity by inspiring him to come about with more intensifying sermons.
Adversely to the common opinion of the townspeople, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is not very honorable and does not deserve any praise whatsoever. In fact, he is a coward. Dimmesdale is not courageous enough to tell the town that he was the one who committed adultery with Hester and the one who deserved to stand in the scaffold with Hester and Pearl while they are being punished openly by the townspeople's stares and whispers. This reverend is only able to stand in the guilty spotlight when the sun is down and he is covered by the veil of darkness, the veil of evil. Only under this cloak, is he able to announce his sin and stand on the scaffold. However, Pearl, his adulterous daughter, refuses this confession because he declines her offer to stand with her and her mother the very next day at noon, in front of everyone and in broad daylight.
Besides being a milksop, Arthur Dimmesdale is also a masochist. He has become a masochist because of his lack of audacity to own up to his sin. Following the example of Hester's scarlet letter, Dimmesdale decides to make the "scarlet letter" appear not just in his heart, but on his chest as well. Being a masochist seems to accomplish this form of expressing his guilt. Whipping himself, Dimmesdale...