The Worst Sinner In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Worst Sinner “... here, in the sunny day… he knows us not; nor must we know him.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, we are approached by three sin stricken persons, all burning , whether inwardly or outwardly, with their deeds. With whom therein lies the worst sin? The answer is disclosed within the seemingly most pure of the three, Arthur Dimmesdale, the young, heaven blessed minister of the small Puritan society. For one who is supposed to be the epitome of a perfect, cherished follower of the Puritan principles, his immorality sinks him further from redemption than both Hester and Chillingworth. His transgression is weighed down by his efforts to hide his sins from the world’s eye, his avoidance of his own child and partner, …show more content…
Dimmesdale, “... who is supposed to be absolutely pure, and who fervently urges his congregation to confess and openly repent of their sins” (Dibble), preaches instead sermons of hypocrisy. In being guilty of adultery, but denying his responsibility to confess, he steals seven years worth of what his congregation thought to be heartfelt and blessed sermons and replaces them with insincere musings of a sinful man. The moment he selfishly confesses at the end, only prompted by his imminent death, every one of his devout followers would be forced to look inwards at the past and place every action of their “righteous” minister in accordance to his concealed crime. Dimmesdale himself recognizes his ultimate crime when he said, “What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?” (Hawthorne 172). He has put himself in the position to reprimand others for their crimes while continuing to be sinless of his own. Worst yet is that the people didn’t have the smallest inkling of the extent of his crimes, making his confession all the more horrific. If a man such as their blessed minister can be drowned by a sin, what is there to stop themselves from being torn apart by the devil? Dimmesdale betrayed the trust of his entire town, all because he could not summon the strength to show them his true self, the hypocrite and the

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