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Scarlet Letter And Dimmesdale Essay Research Paper

In the book The Scarlet Letter, the character Reverend Dimmesdale, a very

religious man, committed adultery, which was a sin in the Puritan community. Of

course, this sin could not be committed alone. His partner was Hester Prynne.

Hester was caught with the sinning only because she had had a child named Pearl.

Dimmesdale was broken down by Roger Chillinsworth, Hester Prynne?s real

husband, and by his own self-guilt. Dimmesdale would later confess his sin and

die on the scaffold. Dimmesdale was well known by the community and was looked

up to by many religious people. But underneath his religious mask he is actually

the worst sinner of them all. His sin was one of the greatest sins in a Puritan

community. The sin would eat him alive from the inside out causing him to become

weaker and weaker, until he cannot stand it anymore. In a last show of strength

he announces his sin to the world, but dies soon afterwards. In the beginning

Dimmesdale is a weak, reserved man. Because of his sin his health regresses more

and more as the book goes on, yet he tries to hide his sin beneath a religious

mask. By the end of the book he comes forth and tells the truth, but because he

had hidden the sin for so long he is unable to survive. Dimmesdale also adds

suspense to the novel to keep the reader more interested in what Reverend

Dimmesdale is hiding and his hidden secrets. Therefore Dimmesdale?s sin is the

key focus of the book to keep the reader interested. Dimmesdale tries to cover

up his sin by preaching to the town and becoming more committed to his

preachings, but this only makes him feel even guiltier. In the beginning of the

story, Dimmesdale is described by these words; ?His eloquence and religious

fervor had already given earnest of high eminence in his

profession.?(Hawthorne,44). This proves that the people of the town looked up

to him because of the fact that he acted very religious and he was the last

person that anyone expected to sin. This is the reason that it was so hard for

him to come out and tell the people the truth. Dimmesdale often tried to tell

the people in a roundabout way when he said ??though he (Dimmesdale) were to

step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee on thy pedestal of

shame, yet better were it so, that to hide a guilty heart through

life.?(Hawthorne,65). Dimmesdale obviously is trying to tell her that he does

not want to hide with this guilt and that he will feel it and have temptations

later but also that he is going to go through life with the sin. Dimmesdale is

obviously hiding behind his religious mask and is afraid to come out and tell

his secret. This secret tears him apart and eventually is the cause of his

death. Reverend Dimmesdale was torn apart by his sin. It would make him do and

think evil things. The sin even made him resort to flagellation in order to make

the pain of the guilt go away. This self-prescribed torture Dimmesdale

eventually lead to his death on the scaffold where he did as he promised Pearl;

holding her and her mothers hand in front of the entire community. His torture

included him pushing himself to become a better minister to help keep the

guiltiness pushed back inside his head. He began working extremely to ensure

that where his work would make the community think of him as an even more holy

man who had done no wrong. In turn making his guilt rise up even more and then

making himself have to push on and try to hide his guilt. Dimmesdale even puts

himself through self-beatings. Where once he was a attractive man was now

considered a pale, weak, emaciated coward who could barely walk and would have

great pains, in which he would grab his chest. His torture brought him to his

death where he died upon the very scaffold that Hester, his fellow sinner, had

stood to face her punishment. Dimmesdale, throughout the book, knows of where he

is and what he is doing. He is seen in the book as a reverend and to the reader

as a man who is quite well-known in the community, but is obviously hiding

something. This keeps the reader interested in the book, Dimmesdale?s

regression and why he regresses to his deathly state. What he had done to get

there keeps the reader interested and wondering why he is so depressed. By the

time the reader did know that Dimmesdale was the partner of Hester?s sin, the

reader keeps reading to know why he committed the sin and why he is in such

great pain. Dimmesdale adds great suspense as to what he will do next in his

ghastly state where he is almost tempted to say blasphemous things and even tell

children about naughty words. He is a questionable character and this makes the

reader want to know how he will end up at the end of the book. Dimmesdale begins

the story as a handsome, religious figure in the community and slowly becomes

more cowardly. He hides himself behind a mask of lies and cannot bring himself

to come out from hiding. He tries a few times to get Hester to tell the town

that he is the other sinner, but he cannot do it himself. His body and soul

shrivels up and eventually dies, but not before he does one act of courage and

tells the entire town that he is the adulterer. Dimmesdale was the victim of his

own cowardliness and also the victim of Chillingworth?s hatred and revenge. If

he could have been brave enough to tell the truth he may have been able to save

himself and ended Hesters? pain before it began. Dimmesdale is a cowardly,

weak man and he becomes more so throughout the entire book. He doesn’t go

through any major changes, but the worst characteristics of his character become

more prominent. This eventually causes him to die.


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