Summary Of The Scarlet Letter By Arthur Dimmesdale

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Arthur Dimmesdale is a perpetually conflicted character throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne presents a Puritan ideology that strives for sinless community, making strict and unforgiving. As a reverend predicated on teaching and following these laws, they come to define Dimmesdale’s character. Dimmesdale feels confined to the ironclad rules of the Puritan society; however, he embraces it and deems it necessary for his well being. Although, as the book progresses, Dimmesdale’s inner thoughts and desires are established as contradictory to the iron framework that is so crucial to his character. Dimmesdale’s two sides, a truthful and pure reverend contrasted with an intellectual free thinker, collide throughout …show more content…
Throughout the book, he slowly realizes the satisfaction and relief that opening the window into an alternate mindset can bring. “Not the less, however, though with a tremulous enjoyment, did he feel the occasional relief of looking at the universe through the medium of another kind of intellect than those with which he habitually held converse”(114). Dimmesdale starts to realize his appreciation for the ability to let his intellect roam freely. As brought out even more by his sin and way he deals with Hester, his personality outside of Puritan values begin to emerge, defining Dimmesdale as empathetic and accepting, contrary to the normal unforgiving Puritan ways. Dimmesdale exhibits these traits when Hester pleads to the community leaders to keep Pearl. “The young minister at once came forward, pale, and holding his hand over his heart, as was his custom whenever his peculiarly nervous temperament was thrown into agitation” (105). After Hester singles Dimmesdale out to intervene in the other elders attack on Pearl, Dimmesdale comes forth, hiding the guilt he holds in his heart with his hand. However, despite the visible pain he seems to be experiencing, his empathy toward Hester and forgivingness shines to help Hester keep Pearl. As the guilt of sin and lies burn in Dimmesdale’s mind, he …show more content…
After seven years of living in guilt, Dimmesdale finally has the opportunity to move on and start a new life with Hester; however, he is not able to do so. Instead, he chooses to stand upon the scaffold, and announce his sin to the world. “‘Ha, tempter! Methinks thou art too late!’ answered the minister, encountering his eye, fearfully, but firmly. ‘Thy power is not what is was? With God’s help, I shall escape thee now!’”(235) Dimmesdale’s words with Chillingworth during his revelation signifies that he has now forgiven himself for his sin. This scene is also ironic due that Dimmesdale using the phrase ‘With God’s help’ to proclaim his removal from the church. However, this proclamation does not mean a removal from religion, it simply means Dimmesdale is escaping from the Puritan rules and society to begin his transition to a free state of thought. By this public announcement, Dimmesdale is finally able to end his seven year torment and break free from the iron frame work of the Puritan

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