Character Analysis Of Dimmesdale In The Scarlet Letter

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The Ambiguous Trail
First and last impressions hold a lasting imprint towards one’s personality. First impressions are little previews into one’s persona and each subsequent meeting helps further develop towards one’s last impression. Which is an ideal that eventually contributes to the bigger picture of who a person actually is. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne emphasizes Dimmesdale as a pivotal character who embodies qualities from both the good and the bad. Throughout the novel, the author displays Dimmesdale as a contradictory character in the means of how his actions refute his high position in society, which ultimately suggests that his moral ambiguity derives from his cowardice of not admitting to a major sin he
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Though this truth becomes unveiled to the audience, Dimmesdale is far from admitting this sin to the society he lives in. Yet guilt plays a major role throughout that eventually engulfs his whole life. While describing the minister’s room, subtle hints are hidden around those four confined walls in order to serve as a reminder of the awful deed he once committed. “The walls were hung round with tapestry, said to be from the Gobelin looms, and, at all events, representing the Scriptural story of David and Bathsheba, and Nathan the Prophet, in colors still unfaded, but which made the fair woman of the scene almost as grimly picturesque as the woe-denouncing seer” (111). This quote represents one of the many biblical references in the book. The scriptural story of David and Bathsheba represents the affair between Dimmesdale and Hester, while Nathan the Prophet exemplifies Chillingworth, Hester’s husband. Dimmesdale truly represents the character of David not only in the sense of the affair they both carried out, but also with their given backgrounds. Both characters were looked up upon within their own societies, David as a memorable king and Dimmesdale as a charismatic reverend. The constant reminder of the tapestry contributes to the remorse that …show more content…
According to himself, Dimmesdale must turn towards a physically torturous path in order to suffice the consequences of his crime. “Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders; laughing bitterly at himself the while, and smiting so much the more pitilessly, because of that bitter laugh” (126). The action behind this quote is rather harrowing. Dimmesdale takes matters into his own hands and punishes himself through the act of whipping in order to release some sort of guilt out of his soul. He commits this endeavor of self-torture in order to relieve himself of the shame that burns inside of him constantly as an attempt to clear his conscious. It shows how he is truly a good man with great intentions, who had also committed a grave mistake once in his life that he can never let go nor forget, but that does not disregard his character as someone with an evil persona. Dimmesdale lacks the balance of good and bad as he shifts from both ends with his conflicting principles, which helps contribute to his moral ambiguity. When speaking to his lover, Hester, in the forest, the two converse about the idea of running away from the judgmental eyes and the overwhelming stress from society, which causes Dimmesdale to process the benefits and consequences regarding the suggestion, and quickly becomes aware of his decision.

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