Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter Essay
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The Scarlet LetterArthur Dimmesdale 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 price of death, proved to be more harmful and more destructive than this sin of the flesh, and his sin against God. Socrates said, “Knowthyself,” and Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” If Reverend Dimmesdale had been true to himself he certainly wouldn’t have suffered as much as he did. What drove Dimmesdale to hold in his self-condemning truth? To…show more content…
Dimmesdale portrays himself very ironically. He is a very well respected reverend and yet, has, for the last 7 years, worked on preaching the word of God, especially while he urges the congregation to confess openly to repent unto God. While, in reality, Dimmesdale is the one whoneeds a clean conscious. He feels like he needs to confess not only to the town but also too himself. Halfway through the novel
Dimmesdale has yet to reveal the truth, which, so far, has been devouring him,physically and mentally. Since this good reverend is so spiritual, he cannot reveal his truths to the town so simply. He is of the Puritan faith and being a follower of that, the sin of adultery is a very grand sin. The whole town would look down on him as if he were a hypocrite. Which in fact, he is, but his sin of adultery in that town would have been scoffed at just as Hester’s has. The reverend is so well liked by the townsfolk that
Hawthorne states, “They fancied him the mouthpiece of Heaven’s messages of wisdom, rebuke, and love. In their eyes, the very ground on which he trod was sanctified.” ( 139 ) How else can the reverend live without revealing his identity? He has been doing it for seven years, and it must be hard for him, mentally and physically. Mentally, his whole body shuts down because he cannot take it anymore, even though he does not give in to confess yet. He has become emaciated because he has let the sin against himself churn
In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne establishes a duality between piety and sin that manifests itself in the character of Arthur Dimmesdale. Throughout the plot, Dimmesdale is presented as a faithful and religious minister. Hawthorne primarily portrays this by detailing the power of Dimmesdale’s sermons and the effects that they have on his congregation. Additionally, Dimmesdale is depicted as a person of decaying emotional stability, who digresses into a nervous collapse as the story progresses. He becomes physically frail, and displays his internal turmoil by auspiciously placing his hand over his heart. Hawthorne further establishes Dimmesdale’s character through the lens of hypocrisy, especially through the questions that his illegitimate daughter Pearl presents. Hawthorne uses both direct and indirect characterization to present the character of Dimmesdale as pious, increasingly nervous, and hypocritical.
When Dimmesdale is first introduced to the reader, he is shown as a faithful minister who is fulfilling his religious duties while questioning Hester about the paternity of her child. Hawthorne establishes Dimmesdale as a deeply religious pillar of the community, whose “eloquence and...
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