In The Scarlet Letter, Hester transforms into a stronger, more confident woman through the experiences she encounters because of the scarlet letter she wears. At the beginning of the novel when Hester is ordered to wear the scarlet letter, she suffers from feelings of hopelessness and despair; feelings that trigger the thought of suicide as an option to end her suffering. While newly wearing the letter, Hester feels as though it is only a burden; however, that changes as the letter soon reveals to be a gift in disguise. The scarlet letter allows Hester to sense the guilt of those who appear to be the purest and sinless, showing her the true hypocrisy of her society. By eventually learning of the hypocrisy of her society, Hester realizes that her fellow men and women should not have the power to ruin her life.
It reveals how the character Dimmesdale evolves as time progresses, in the beginning he asks Hester to stand with him so he can confess his sins but only for a minute because he doesn't want to admit the sin. This adds to the guilt that increases with time but also foreshadows his final coming out with the truth and death caused by this action. Hester's past will always be apart of her although others have forgotten about the sin that tore her life apart. The scarlet letter becomes apart of her and also turns into a symbol of redemption and how she overcame the difficulties in her life. Although she was emotionally tormented as a young woman she was able to overcome and become a light to others.
The new opinion of the townspeople further proved that Hester was capable of changing from an immoral woman to a respectable and strong female. After her self-inflicted temptation, Hester was able to prove herself to the people around her as well as proving to herself that she was able to change. Society around her now visualized her as a new person who was capable of finding her inner strength, and instead of labeling her as the woman who possessed the Scarlet Letter, she became a woman who was powerful and respectable. By being able to realize how her change affected the folks around her, Hester continued to leap down a positive path of accepting herself and beginning to let go of her rebellious ways, even though this is all she had known in the
Hester changed her attire to a plain, darkshade, with no designs, which corresponded to her emotions. There was nothing she could accomplish to reduce the pain of the guilt since the truth was known by everyone in her hometown. As time went on, Hester regained some purport in her town. The townspeople demanded Hester for her skills and soon she did not need to wear the scarlet letter anymore, but she thought she deserved it. Whether the sin was committed in secrecy or not, both Hester and Dimmesdale went through similar consequences.
Dimmesdale’s True Colors Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, also the father of Hester’s child, showed prominent parts of his character throughout the story. The first trait the reader becomes aware of is Dimmesdale’s cowardice. He has no intentions of revealing his sin to the public, due to how highly he is seen in the community’s eyes. Remorse, or guilt, is another term that can be associated with Dimmesdale, growing increasingly more prominent as the novel goes on. Cowardice, a lacking of bravery when facing danger, was a trait that Dimmesdale carried.
“And the infectious poison of that sin had been thus rapidly diffused throughout his moral system” (Hawthorne 174). In The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale serves as the holiest person many people meet in their moral lifetime, and as the purest embodiment of God’s word. However, Dimmesdale has a wounding secret, a cancer, that tears his soul apart throughout his time in America. Dimmesdale falls prey to sin in a moment of passion with Hester, resulting in her condemnation by the townspeople, and the birth of their child, Pearl. For years, Dimmesdale’s life is defined by an internal conflict - his job demands his purity in the eye of the townspeople, but he desires the acceptance of herself that Hester achieves through her sin being made public. His
Guilt lead Dimmesdale to whip himself, starve himself, and possibly carve the scarlet letter into himself. His health depletes rapidly after Hester is publically shamed but he is allowed to continue his normal daily life. This creates unrest in Dimmesdale, he feels that he also deserves a punishment. Therefore, one night, Dimmesdale in his state of omnipresent guilt, goes to the scaffold, the one that Hester was publicly shamed on. While traveling
Throughout the novel, Hester is fraught by the Puritan society and her suffering is an effect of how evil society is. Hester continues to believe that the crime she committed was not wrong and she should not be punished for it. Her desire to protect and love Dimmesdale, turn her into a stronger person and become a heroine in the book. Although society still views her as a “naughty baggage” (Hawthorne 73) and is punished for her wrongdoing, Hester never thought to take revenge on them, yet she gives everything she has to the unfortunate and leaves herself with very little. She continues to stay positive no matter what society has for her.
Dimmesdale and Hester suffers because of the sin they did. Dimmesdale feels guilt even though he never confesses that he is the farther. He would go to the scaffold at night and stand there screaming trying to get the people to come outside to see him but it was just all in his head when she would stand on the scaffold during the day with the red A on her chest she felt guilt even though she would not tell anyone who the farther is and for having an affair while her husband was missing for years. For example, Dimmesdale does not want to confess about his sin because he does not want to face the consequences. This is illustrated when Dimmesdale says, “then and there before the judgment-seat, thy mother and thou, and I must stand together” (Dimmesdale 139). Dimmesdale does
Hester and Dimmesdale had planned to escape their sins to Europe, however, after his last sermon, Dimmesdale realized that he yearned for a public confession. Therefore, though he was scarcely strong enough to walk on his own, he summoned Hester and Pearl to the scaffold and proceeded to mount it with them. Proceeding to confess in the presence of the entire town, Dimmesdale tore off his minister’s robe to reveal a concealed scarlet letter of his own. After bidding farewell to Hester and their child, Dimmesdale, relieved once and for all from his guilt, died a peaceful death on the scaffold. Thus, Dimmesdale had finally realized that the guilt of his adultery with Hester was inescapable by ordinary means, and only such a public confession could free his
Dimmesdale suffers differently from Hester, because while she “bore it all” to the townspeople (181), his fears forced him to hide his sin, living a life full of “nothing but despair” (177). Hester, though made a social pariah of the town, has a more honest and healthy way of dealing with her sin. Because Hester is forced to face her wrongdoings under the watchful eye of her Puritan neighbors, she did not have the same guilt of secrecy that Dimmesdale did. Dimmesdale, by hiding his sin, allows himself to become a captive to his guilt. The way that Dimmesdale dealt with his guilt was unhealthy for him, both mentally and physically.
Hester freed herself from sin by removing The Scarlet Letter and realizing she loves Dimmesdale, with this she asks for his forgiveness and confesses. “Let God punish! Thou shalt forgive!”(pg.118) Hester did a good deed when she kept Dimmesdale’s identity a secret. “I deem it not likely that he will betray the secret.
The hardships and punishments of both Hester and Dimmesdale, while difficult to endure at the time, were eventually beneficial and allowed them to free themselves from the Puritan community and escape their pain. Hester, throughout the beginning and middle of the book, is forced to face alienation and humiliation from her town, though by the end of the book, she is able to use her punishment to set her free from her society. First, Hester reflects on the effect of her sin, and realizes, “ . . . the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul . . .” (72).
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy,” (KJV 28:13). The message of this short proverb is simple: confess. Despite this, there are millions refusing to reveal their hidden atrocities to the oblivious public. But you don’t need public ridicule for a sin to destroy you, in fact, it would be better if you did confess. This is the ideology of Nathaniel Hawthorne author of The Scarlet Letter. In this book, Hawthorne details an elaborate story showing the consequences of confessing sins in contrast to concealing it. A sin weighing down on you and destroying you from the inside out is a moral consequence and, the only remedy is confessing the sin. This notion can be seen in the difference between Hester and Dimmesdale with how they handled the scarlet letter and the effects of that.
Hester dislikes the fact that the “scarlet letter” may be perceived as a sign of weakness, and instead learns to be empowered by the “A”. Ultimately, Hester actively made a positive impact on the community and proceeds to raise pearl, her child, without any assistance from Roger or Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester exemplifies her independence through her ability to maintain financial stability while raising her daughter and working. Hester eventually morphs the public's view of the scarlet letter into something positive. The narrator says, “many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification.