The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1165 Words Nov 26th, 2016 5 Pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a tale rife with morally ambiguous characters. While each with their own faults and merits, Hester is generally portrayed in a better light than Chillingworth is by the narrator. Arthur Dimmesdale’s position on the morality scale, however, is much more disputed. He is truly an ambiguous character for acting both in ways people perceive as good and evil before and after Hester is convicted. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the conflicting viewpoints of how people sees Dimmesdale precisely to demonstrate that the opinions that count most are the ones held by the individual, proving that public punishments are not as effective. Initially, to the townspeople, Dimmesdale is the embodiment of the good in society. For example, he is “considered by his more fervent admirers as little less than a heavenly ordained apostle” (Hawthorne 72). However, they do not have the full picture of Dimmesdale’s life. They do not know that he is actually the father of Pearl, whose mother is already married to a different man. As a result, society demands that he should have been the one standing with Hester as she is shamed by the town. Although he is an adulterer, the ones at his sermons state that “never had man spoken in so wise, so high, and so holy a spirit, as he that spake this day” (205). This solidifies that the townspeople are not so accurate in their judgments of characters who can both do evil while contributing good, so they do not have…

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