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Dimmesdale A Sinner Or Not? Essay

1127 words - 5 pages

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, the novelist suggests how Dimmesdale, a priest who is obligated to the church, has commited adultery, but keeps it a secret to keep the political and societal structure of the Puritan community. Throughout the first half of the novel Dimmesdale is portrayed as a small insignificant character that seems to have a strange liking for Hester Prynne in which the reader does not pinpoint why, until he and Hester meet in the forest. Dimmesdale struggles throughout the novel dealing with his private and public life. Hawthorne defines that characters in the novel are made of how they deal with their own adverse situations.

Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a petite character who gives compelling sermons and is a vital part of the Puritan community has a difficult time dealing with his duty to the church. The reader knows that Dimmesdale is the only one preventing himself from telling the community the truth, but he feels it will disrupt the society. Dimmesdale gets interrogated by Chillingworth, which leads him to physical and emotional trauma resulting in a heart condition that has a superficial meaning of his death later on in the novel. The real reason for his death is of a much deeper meaning it is because he has finally revealed his sin on the scaffold. We as readers do not know this for sure but we can infer it from context when the author sets the mood as he describes the scene “Pearl kissed his lips. A spell was broken” (Hawthorne 234). This scene is almost like a Disney movie in which a spell is broken. In this case it is a sin being lifted and a transformation unlike the frog prince but a transformation into death almost as if god rewarded him in an unconventional way for revealing his sin.

Thomas Payne once said, “These are the times that try men’s souls” (Thomas Payne). This quote reinforces one of the main messages in the novel which is that the deeper the characters the more they have overcome adverse situations. This abject insecurity Dimmesdale is feeling is assuaged when he and Hester share a passionate kiss at the forest. This is first time the blanket of guilt seems to be raised from underneath him. The reader can tell from the text, “Thou shalt not go alone” (Hawthorne 182), that Dimmesdale and Hester have discovered a plan to be together forever in which they board a ship to go to London, but this plan goes awry. Chillingworth, Hester’s original husband whom she was forced to marry out of callowness disrupts the plan. Dimmesdale gives a very powerful final sermon, but he would also tell the community of his sin when the author reveals this by saying, “With a convulsive motion he tore away the ministerial band from before his breast. It was revealed! But it were irreverent to describe that revelation (Hawthorne 234). The author shows that Dimmesdale has a scarlet letter A similar to Hester meaning the he was an adulterer too. Hawthorne shows that even through love and passion a sense...

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