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Dimmesdale's Responsibility For Sin In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The book “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a complex novel that has underlying themes of sin and the responsibility for sin. The novel takes place in a Puritanical society, but two people, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, fornicate with each other, even though Hester is married to someone else. Only Hester is punished, so Dimmesdale keeps his guilt inside, not revealing it to anyone. Hester’s husband, Chillingworth, then proceeds to ruin Hester’s partner in crime, corrupting his soul and being the ultimate cause for his death. Hester, on the other hand, leads a relatively happy life after she had repented for her sin. Hester and Dimmesdale each are equivalent in the sin that they commit, but their lives and fates are different because Hester had to repent for her crimes while Dimmesdale bottled up his guilt inside. The indirect result of Dimmesdale’s concealment of the truth was Chillingworth’s torture, which played a large role in Dimmesdale’s untimely death. Chillingworth snapped when Hester did not reveal Dimmesdale’s crimes. Hester, in part, helped Dimmesdale in…show more content…
Therefore, when Chillingworth gets to torturing Dimmesdale, she has already confessed her guilt over three years. Therefore, her emotional trauma is virtually nil compared to Dimmesdale’s and she also has relatively little emotional tension. Right before Hester enters the Forest with Pearl, “…Hester’s nature showed itself warm and rich; a well-spring of human tenderness, unfailing to every real demand, and inexhaustible by largest.” (110-111) When one compares this with Dimmesdale’s sick, decrepit state at this time in the book, one can see the difference between Hester and Dimmesdale, and following that the effects of divulging guilt and concealing it. Hester’s personality was “warm and rich,” while Dimmesdale was on the brink of insanity, his personality and soul twisted and
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