Reverend Dimmesdale In The Scarlet Letter

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In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a woman by the name of Hester Prynne commits the ultimate sin, adultery, and must live with her consequences. Her punishment for this unthinkable crime is to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest to represent “adulterer”, and stand on a scaffold to face as much public humiliation as possible. This tore Hester apart and slowly stripped away her sanity. Even so, she refused to reveal the identity of her lover. Late in the book, Reverend Dimmesdale reveals himself as the man who was involved with Hester. This startling revelation shocked the community and changed the way that many people viewed Reverend Dimmesdale. However, it was this crucial revelation that lifted an unimaginably …show more content…
Heroes tend to have conventional moral values, and face conflict head on. Reverend Dimmesdale possesses all of these qualities, and is all of these things. Wearing the scarlet letter not only affected Hester, but Dimmesdale too. Seeing the townspeople displaying hatred toward Hester, and nothing but admiration towards himself truly upset him. He is unable to express this pain, and makes himself ill by internalizing it. The minister deals with this unspoken misery for years, with nobody to express this too aside from Hester, whom he barely sees. One night in a brief meeting with Hester he tells her how he truly feels. He says, “Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret! Thou little knowest what a relief it is, after the torment of a seven years ' cheat, to look into an eye that recognises me for what I am!” (Hawthorne 107). Dimmesdale resents receiving such loving treatment when he knows that he doesn’t deserve it, and gazing into a pair of eyes that knew who he truly was came as a relief. Reverend Dimmesdale not only regretted his sin, but also his lack of punish in contrast to Hester’s harsh one. This deep-seated regret for his actions shows that Dimmesdale had no intentions of causing such a scandal, and desperately wishes circumstances were …show more content…
It served as a daily reminder of the sin she had committed, and the secret she had kept. Although Dimmesdale wasn’t tormented by the public, he still tormented himself, and even had his own scarlet letter on his chest. When Hester and Dimmesdale met in the woods, Hester’s daughter Pearl spotted him and mistook him for the “Black Man”. Upon laying eyes on him, Pearl said, “‘And, mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?’” (Hawthorne 105). Pearl is referring to Dimmesdale as he approached the pair, walking “as if he saw no reason for taking one step forward” (Hawthorne 105), keeping his hand over his heart. The scarlet letter he had carved into his own skin stung just as badly as Hester’s embroidered one did. This meeting in the woods was an important step in Dimmesdale’s journey to becoming a hero. While Pearl plays in the woods, the two former lovers discuss the constant pain they experience because of their sin. This leads them to consider their options - why should they stay in a town where Hester is condemned to ridicule and Dimmesdale is plagued with guilt? The pair decides to leave town and start over, a

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