Reverend Dimmesdale's Punishment In The Scarlet Letter

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Dimmesdale’s Punishment in The Scarlet Letter
Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a brilliant spokesperson and a devout and wise Puritan minister in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, is the lover of a woman who commits adultery, Hester Prynne. Hester, a recognizable adulteress, wears the scarlet letter and lives as an outcast. Contradicting, Reverend Dimmesdale’s sin stays hidden from the Puritan community, known only to Hester and himself. As a minister, Dimmesdale believes he should suffer from punishments the way Hester did for committing the same crime, which leads him to fall into a terrible mental and physical state. Reverend Dimmesdale suffers a greater punishment than Hester by experiencing recurring guilt, physical harm, and Chillingworth’s torment.
Dimmesdale experiences guilt after he commits adultery. As a devout Puritan minister, Dimmesdale preaches against sin. However, Dimmesdale contradicts his preaching and has an affair with Hester, a married woman. The novel begins with Hester standing on a scaffold for public shaming. The Puritans use Hester as an example of what will happen if one commits adultery. Later in the novel, Dimmesdale confesses his guilt and unbearable misery to Hester in the forest: “Mine burns in secret! Thou little knowest what a relief it is, after the torment of a seven years’
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Though he does not receive punishment from the Puritan community, he gives it to himself. He makes up for not confronting himself to the Puritan community by scourging and fasting. In addition, hallucinations make his suffering unbearable. On the other hand, Hester stands on a scaffold for public humiliation. Hester’s strong and bold personality makes the public shaming sustainable and has little effect on her. Dimmesdale’s weak nature, causing him to feel insecure and guilty, makes his punishment
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