Theme Of Dimmesdale In The Scarlet Letter

1495 Words 6 Pages
Register to read the introduction… He preaches against sin and urges his congregation to confess their evil deeds and wicked thoughts. "I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except tempt him –yea compel him, as it were—to add hypocrisy to sin?" Ironically, Hawthorne later reveals that Dimmesdale has been a hypocritical coward from the day of his affair with Hester. As far as the townspeople know, Hester is the lone sufferer for one sin committed by two people. No one would ever guess that their minister, alone, is guilty of three major crimes: adultery, hypocrisy, and neglecting confession. His heart becomes so heavy with guilt, remorse, and sorrow that he punishes himself by fasting for days, whipping his own back. Some believe that this is what caused the scarlet "A" to mysteriously appear on his chest. The guilt that is a direct result of concealing his terrible sins is literally destroying him. Hawthorne writes, "No man, for any considerable period can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true." (196) Dimmesdale is learning this lesson …show more content…
After all, Hester and Dimmesdale both violated him by engaging in the act of adultery. This causes many readers to sympathize for Chillingworth until he plainly confesses that it was originally himself that sinned: "Mine was the first wrong, when I betrayed thy budding youth into a false and unnatural relation with my decay."(66) Chillingworth knew that Hester didn't love him before they were married, but he was looking for what he wanted. He didn't mean to ruin Hester's life. His sin, like Hester's, was a crime of passion and desire. This alone does not qualify him as the worst sinner in the novel. When Chillingworth learns of the affair, he conceals his rage and jealousy from the townspeople. He dwells on the shame that Dimmesdale has caused him. These two sins—concealment and obsession—work together to increase Chillingworth's anger and desire for revenge. He never fights the desire to hurt Dimmesdale. Instead, he enjoys watching him suffer. Chillingworth has begun an evil transformation: his face is darker and his eyes seem to occasionally reflect an eerie red glare. Dimmesdale may have survived a little longer and lived to escape with Hester if it hadn't been for Roger Chillingworth's mind games. He would address him as "pious Master Dimmesdale"(122) and praise him as if he were flawless and holy. This made the minister concentrate on how unholy and shameful he really was, thus

Related Documents