Narcissism In The Scarlet Letter

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Dimmesdale is Wack, Man When considering the term “narcissism,” one often conjures up the image of a conceited, self-absorbed person who excessively praises their own perfection. However, narcissism as a psychological disorder is much deeper. According to licensed mental health counselor Michael Samsel, narcissism is best described as “organizing one 's life around the goal of being superior.” And yet, “superiority is not just about learning to do one or more things well, it is about hiding any evidence of imperfection in other areas” (Samsel). A narcissistic personality often causes turmoil, with the ever-present black hole of self-importance potentially manifesting into an abusive relationship. In The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a narcissistic personality is seen in the character of Dimmesdale, the reverend in the Puritan town of 17th century Boston, and secret lover of Hester Prynne. Hester, having given birth to a child out of wedlock, is forced to wear the letter “A” on her chest as punishment for her adultery. She is ceaselessly insulted and ostracized by the other Puritans for the rest of her time in the town. Meanwhile, Hester refuses to reveal who her lover is and thus, Dimmesdale is able to maintain his facade of a pure and holy reverend. However, Dimmesdale belittles Hester’s suffering while punishing himself out of shame, revealing his narcissistic tendencies. Dimmesdale is unsympathetic towards Hester, often belittling her pain and
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