Similarly, Dimmesdale envies the closure that Hester’s punishment has brought her: “‘Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly open your bosom! Mine burns in secret!’” (151). In this dialogue, Dimmesdale articulates how differently their sin has been treated. In Hester’s case, public punishment initially brought disapproval, but eventually led her to charity and a general acceptance by members of the society.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale commits a mortal sin by having an affair with a married woman, Hester Prynne. As a man of the cloth in Puritan society, Dimmesdale is expected to be the embodiment of the town’s values. He becomes captive to a self-imposed guilt that manifests from affair and his fear that he won’t meet the town’s high expectations of him. In an attempt to mitigate this guilt, Dimmesdale acts “piously” and accepts Chillingworth’s torture, causing him to suffer privately, unlike Hester who repented in the eyes of the townspeople. When Dimmesdale finally reveals his sin to the townspeople, he is able to free himself from his guilt.
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 had worn her scarlet letter out for the public to see from the very beginning. She the subject of a lot of the town’s scrutiny.
In addition, Dimmesdale fells guilt even though he still does not confess. Narrator says, “The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne’s bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her” (narrator 154). This ruins Hester life. People in her town wanted her to leave the town or be punished such as wear a big red A on her bosom for the rest of her life.
She receives three punishments from the townspeople, who claim they will free her from her sin. The community orders Hester to go to jail, wear a scarlet letter on her chest, and stand on the town scaffold for hours. Hester wears her scarlet letter proudly on her chest, and endures much suffering because of her public ridicule. Hester is “kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement” after she was released from prison, but she chooses to stay (Hawthorne 71). Later, Hester’s child, Pearl, symbolizes the Puritan view of Hester.
Hawthorne described three things in The Scarlet Letter. Sin, guilt, and redemption. Hawthorne uses people to symbolize them. Hester Prynne was one. Hawthorne allows the reader to get a better understanding by using biblical references.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne explores recurring themes of suffering surrounding the main characters, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester and Dimmesdale both commit adultery with each other, and, as a result of this, both experience gruesome and occasionally unbearable forms of suffering. Though they undergo different forms of pain, both of their experiences are highly reliant on how the Puritan society treats them. Hester 's pain stems from the shame and estrangement she receives from the community, while Dimmesdale’s is due to the reverence with which the community regards him. Although, in spite of the fact that both Hester and Dimmesdale receive harsh penalty for their sin, by the end of the book, Hawthorne shows how their suffering is, in fact, the key to their salvation. 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.
For seven years, Dimmesdale pretends he is innocent of adultery and gets praises for his faux act. Dimmesdale even says so himself that he feels extremely guilty and would rather share his crime than to keep it in secret. He obviously does not prefer sharing his crime with the public because he waits seven long years to do so. He was too obsessed with what others think and gossip about him.
It is revealed that there is something on Dimmesdale’s chest after the physician, Roger Chillingworth, moves aside Dimmesdale’s shirt revealing his chest; (Hawthorne 78) the reader is then led to believe that there is something important about this interaction. The mark, again, is not directly stated so the reader does not know what the mark is. The mark is finally beginning to show itself, so the guilt is starting to work its way outward. At this point there is no way that Dimmesdale will be able to hide his shame forever. Over time the guilt will continue to build up and eventually will consume
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne pinpoints various effects of sin on individuals within a strict, Puritan society. To shed a negative light on Puritan attitudes toward sin and lack of forgiveness, Hawthorne paints vivid pictures of freedom and imprisonment, relief and regret, through the juxtaposition of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, and the characterization of the two lovers. Hester undergoes major character growth through her years bearing the scarlet “A,” "so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom," introduced in the narrator’s shifting viewpoint of the young mother. The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale on the other hand, shoulders his guilt, in spite of the physical manifestation of his inner turmoil in his
At the beginning of the story, Hester Prynne was punished by being forced to wear the letter A for committing adultery. At this point, Dimmesdale was silent about his role in this sin. Hawthorne previews this future guilt by showing that in human nature, “... the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles
In Dimmesdale not confessing and facing a punishment in the eyes of the church as well as the townspeople, causing him to take to his own means, while Hester is able to face a punishment. Dimmesdale does what he believes is right for his punishment by doing acts that damaged his mind and body. Dimmesdale, in creating his own punishment, holds vigils that last all night, fasted to the point that he barely ate anything at all, beat himself, and lost the will to live. Dimmesdale's sin stays with him throughout the book, and the readers see his mind and body deteriorate through his mysterious sickness, while the readers see Hester become a closed off outcast trying to repent. The townspeople in the book see DImmesdale's sickness, and how devoted he is to his faith and begin to believe that he is holy, and an angel sent to sent to save them, while Hester has repented and become able, as well as an
What is justice to you? Well justice is different for everyone because we have all had different life experiences. In the scarlet letter, by nathaniel hawthorne, a woman named hester prim is punished for having a chilled out for welock. As her punishment she is forced to wear a scarlet A upon her clothing, with this mark she will become out cast and ridiculed by the town. Hester accepts the letter at first because it is the regulated punishment decided by the society and what they see as a just punishment. But then as the story progress she realizes that the same duration of the punishment isn 't always the best for the situation. But then by the end of the story she comes to the realization that the punishment doesn 't define her.
Hester is accused of being unfaithful to her husband, Roger Chillingworth, despite his absence from her life for a long period of time. During one of Roger’s extended absences, Hester conceives a child born out of sin with Arthur Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale is a local holy man and is never exposed for his sin, while Hester is frequently mistreated, and eternally punished with a scarlet “A” marked on her clothing to represent Adulterer. Hester talks about wearing the “A”, and resents the fact that it may be pointed at as a sign of weakness. Hester says, “giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion” (91 Hawthorne).
We are all sinners. Although one may try hard not to sin, all humans eventually succumb at some time or another to sin. While people may not able to avoid the fate which awaits them, the power of free will allows people to decide how they will respond to sin. While some may respond with guilt and regret, others may react with a sense of redemption and a renewed sense of responsibility.