Secret Sin And Guilt In The Scarlet Letter

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Secret Sin & Guilt Arthur Dimmesdale is a guilty minister in the story of The Scarlet Letter, a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This is a man who has been keeping a secret sin from the citizens of Boston, ironically telling them what is sinful and what is not. Though they do not know it, the baby of a special lady named Hester Prynne is the walking proof of his sin. It is revealed more and more as the story unfolds. A man, who happens to be Hester’s husband, Roger Chillingworth, senses this secret sin and guilt in Dimmesdale’s conscience, and he plans to use this knowledge to his advantage to gain his revenge on this man for the sin he committed. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne employs the character of Dimmesdale, his…show more content…
For example, when Hester intercepts Dimmesdale in the woods, where she plans to warn him of Chillingworth’s plot to gain revenge on him for the sin committed, they first have a conversation with each other about how the sin has been affecting their day to day life in the past seven years, and this is where he admits to her how the guilt has been eating away at him, over these years; Corroding his heart. This is illustrated in part when Dimmesdale says, “’I have laughed in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast of what I seem and what I am,’” (Dimmesdale, 174). In this quote, the word choice used is bitterness, and agony. Synonyms to agony are words are suffering, misery, and torture. These words already have a negative feel to it. The actual diction of these words is negative. This agony of his heart has been with him for, perhaps, since the day of Hester’s trial for her conviction of her sin. In addition, before the encounter Hester has with Dimmesdale, when she is still waiting for him in the woods, she and her little girl, Pearl, see him walking along the forest road. This is where Pearl and her mother have a conversation about it, and leads up to Pearl saying, “’And so it is!’” said the child. ‘And, mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the black book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?’” (Pearl, 170). The words that the child speaks hint at how she knows of the sin her mother and Dimmesdale have committed together. After all, she is not a normal child. She IS the walking proof of the sin. Furthermore, we go back even further in the story, where Hester is, again, conversing with Pearl. Pearl begins to ask her questions, which eventually leads to her asking if Hester has ever met
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