How Does Hawthorne Present Dimmesdale's Struggles In The Scarlet Letter

739 Words3 Pages

Life for the Puritans was, to say the least, not very exciting or enjoyable. In his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates how Puritan society affects its citizen’s daily lives. In the overtly religious, strict town of Boston, morals and laws are greatly enforced. When the beautiful, young woman, Hester Prynn, commits adultery, the people of Boston respond angrily. The town minister, Dimmesdale, also feels the shame and burden of the sin committed. Dimmesdale does not confess his wrongdoing throughout the entire book. Dimmesdale bears the greatest burden of sin because of his physical, spiritual, and emotional transformations. Dimmesdale’s unexpressed sin and shame cause his faith to become self-tortuous and abusive. Hawthorne illustrates Dimmesdale’s destructive fasting habits when he says, “It was his custom, too, as …show more content…

Hawthorne depicts Dimmesdale’s alterations when he states, “There was an air about this young minister--an apprehensive, a startled, a half frightened look--as of a being who felt himself quite astray and at a loss in the pathway of human existence, and could only be at ease in some seclusion of his own” (65). Dimmesdale expresses his clinical depression by wanting to be secluded and solitary. He does not even recognize himself, and he feels lost, which is all caused by his shame. Dimmesdale’s insanity is demonstrated when he sees a “herd of diabolic shapes that grinned and mocked at [him]” one night. He even sees “the dead friends of his youth, and his white-bearded father,” along with an imaginary Hester and Pearl (136-137). Dimmesdale’s sin-driven guilt has made him mad. His visions and vivid hallucinations prove that his sin causes him to be emotionally unstable. He continues to increasingly become more emotionally unstable as the novel advances because he does not ever think his punishments are severe enough for the crime he has

Open Document