Scarlet Letter Guilt

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The novel The Scarlet Letter focuses on the lives of sinners in a puritan community. Hester Prynne has been convicted of adultery. Unknown to the other characters Arthur Dimmesdale, the town priest is her partner in crime. The product of this sin is their daughter Pearl. While Hester was being persecuted her long lost husband arrived. He disiqsed himself as Roger Chiligworth and promised to find the other man. Through the thrilling tale of The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne shows secret sin and guilt through Reverend Arthur Dimmensdale. In the novel Hawthorne uses Arthur to show how the sin and guilt pains him. Over the course of seven years he starts to look sickly. This is because to the secret of his adultery is too much to bear. This …show more content…

Hawthorne shows how the townspeople adored Dimmesdale throughout the novel. The Author shows this after Dimmesdale tries to tell his congregation her is a sinner. They respond with “The godly youth!” said they among themselves.” The saint on earth! Alas, if he discern such sinfulness in his own white soul, what horrid spectacle would he behold in thine or mine!” (Hawthorne 131). Because of the way Dimmesdale is seen in the puritan community it makes the guilt even worse. His guilt was worse because he was reminded how he was a supposed to be a holy example. Dimmesdale is often told how much a spiritual guide he is to all the people. After Chillingworth moves in with the priest to “look out for his health” he mocks him in a way about this. Dimmesdale is faced with this predicament every time he wakes up. He address this once in the book “I have laughed in the bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am” (Hawthorne 173). Dimmesdale’s guilt over his sin worsens when he sees Hester or Pearl. Though they alone only a hand full of time in the novel every time they would meet Dimmesdale would be described as looking pained or distressed. Dimmesdale is so pained by is secret he physically harms himself. It is found in his bedroom closet a bloody whip. Chillingworth also makes notice of how many nights he stays up in his study.

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