Relationships and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
Since the book begins in the middle of the action, the circumstance of Hester and Dimmesdale’s relationship is not stated. Although it is told her true love is the loyal, well-spoken clergyman Arthur Dimmesdale. Fully knowledgeable of what they are doing, they fall in love, but cannot show it publicly. It displays that Hester and Dimmesdale are weak individuals by how quickly they fall into temptation and how they respond to the effects the affair has on their life (Macy). Dimmesdale cannot handle the effects whatsoever. As the days go on he gets paler and weaker. The guilt of the affair slowly eats away at Dimmesdale. “His nerve seemed absolutely destroyed. His moral force was abased into more than childish weakness” (Hawthorne 144).
Hester, on the other hand, goes from being a young lady to woman, a strong woman. Dealing with the harsh treatments of society helps her establish a thick coat of skin (Myerson). Despite all the negative tolls the relationship has on their lives, they both still care deeply for each other. This is proven when Dimmesdale is interrogating Hester and clasps his heart after saying, “She will not speak.” (Hawthorne 69). He knows he is the father of her child and is trying to cope with the heartache and feelings of guilt. It is proven again when Dimmesdale