In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, sin is a common theme throughout the novel. In the seventeenth century, Hawthorne sets the novel in this time period to show how radical Puritans were when a person commits a crime. In Puritan times, adultery was a very serious crime that a person can be sentenced to death. The Scarlet Letter features three characters that have sinned. Those characters are Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. Hester’s sin is adultery, Dimmesdale’s sin is also adultery, and Chillingworth’s sin is marrying a young girl that does not reciprocate his feelings, but they all deal with their sin differently. Hester accepts that she has done wrong, and she wears the scarlet letter with pride. Dimmesdale holds in his sin, meaning he does not want to recognize his sin, which leads to the truth affecting his health negatively. Chillingworth deals with his sin by taking revenge on Dimmesdale who took Hester away from him. Multiple sins are dealt in multiple ways.
In the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne is shown leaving the prison carrying her daughter with a crowd of Puritan women shaming her. Hester commits adultery, but instead of receiving the death sentence, she was given a scarlet letter to wear every day while on the scaffold. The scarlet letter is a symbol of her …show more content…
He commits adultery with Hester, but in contrast to her, he does not want to fully acknowledge his sin. Hester publicly confessed to her sin while Dimmesdale does not fully admit to his sin. By withholding in his sin, his health deteriorates. His health worsens and worsens as he continues to withhold his sin. Because of his guilt, Dimmesdale punishes himself, like whipping and starving. He does that because of his extremely religious background as a minister. In The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale wants other people to know how horrible of a person he is for not confessing his
Dimmesdale and Hester suffers because of the sin they did. Dimmesdale feels guilt even though he never confesses that he is the farther. He would go to the scaffold at night and stand there screaming trying to get the people to come outside to see him but it was just all in his head when she would stand on the scaffold during the day with the red A on her chest she felt guilt even though she would not tell anyone who the farther is and for having an affair while her husband was missing for years. For example, Dimmesdale does not want to confess about his sin because he does not want to face the consequences. This is illustrated when Dimmesdale says, “then and there before the judgment-seat, thy mother and thou, and I must stand together” (Dimmesdale 139).
A man named Chillingworth, who claimed to be a doctor, made Dimmesdale feel worse about his secret, Dimmesdale let him get in his head. Reverend Dimmesdale was very weak for being a priest and putting no faith into his God. Reverend Dimmesdale is afraid of his town and his people finding out about his sin. As a priest he wants to seem holy and sinless like the people think him to be, so he hides the fact he and Hester committed adultery. When Hester is on the scaffold, Dimmesdale is asked to try and get Hester to confess who the father is, “If thou feelest it to be for thy soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will be made more
As the moving of story, the “side effect” of the hidden sin has reveal. Dimmesdale become more sick and powerless. As the end of the story, Dimmesdale concede the sin and died as the winner of the fight with hidden sin. Dimmesdale as a combination of saint and sinner, his sin is not committed adultery, but it is that he cannot face the sin and admit it. He wanted to be all perfect in the eyes of the masses, but destroyed his perfectly in the eyes of God.
Dimmesdale presumes, “That my labours, and my sorrows, and my sins, and my pains, should shortly end with me, and what is earthly of them be buried in my grave, and the spiritual go with me to my eternal state, rather than that you should put your skill to the proof in my behalf.” As mentioned before, the truth always comes out and Dimmesdale is naive to think the townspeople can be deceived into having a perfect image of the Reverend. Arthur Dimmesdale is the image of a reverend on the path to heaven but, after the sins committed, becomes a man of hypocrisy. Dimmesdale believes dying with the sins would end the transgressions, however, the Reverend soon finds out that the soul and body of Dimmesdale would be tortured into revealing the
Mentally, his guilt strains his mind, which causes his physical deterioration, and the weakening of his body. As Dimmesdale finally admits his sin to the townspeople, his guilt is lifted, and he is able to release himself from his captivity. Though he deteriorated both mind and body from his guilt, by telling the townspeople of his sin, it was as if “a spell was broken” (238). He no longer needed to force himself to hide his sin, which was what was hurting him. By finally dealing with his sin in a similar way to Hester, Dimmesdale was able to free himself of his self-imposed captivity and
He has to bear the complete weight of his sin, and this is worsened by his profession, where he is expected to be the least blameless of all. Dimmesdale therefore feels an incredibly unhealthy amount of guilt. Throughout the novel, his condition progressively worsens, to the point where “He looked haggard and feeble, and betrayed a nerveless despondency in his air which had never so remarkably characterized him in his walks about the settlement…,” (Hawthorne 179). Dimmesdale displays the physical effects of guilt and grief. He has nobody to share his sin with, in contrast to Heather, who must share it with the world.
Baughmans article displays a deeper look into the character of Dimmesdale, public confession, and court & church punishments. Dimmesdale himself represents a walking, breathing, living sin in The Scarlet Letter. As Baughman explains in his article, “...he also argues that his capacity to do good (by serving God as a minister) would be lost if his guilt were known.” (Baughman, 225). Dimmesdale’s argue to try to defend himself is pathetic.
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.
We are all sinners, no matter how hard we try to hide our faults, they always seem to come back, one way or another. Written in the 19th century, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us Hester Prynne and how one sin can change her life completely. Hester Prynne changes a great deal throughout The Scarlet Letter. Through the view of the Puritans, Hester is an intense sinner; she has gone against the Puritan way of life committing the highest act of sin, adultery. For committing such a sinful act, Hester must wear the scarlet letter while also having to bear stares from those that gossip about her.
The book “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a complex novel that has underlying themes of sin and the responsibility for sin. The novel takes place in a Puritanical society, but two people, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, fornicate with each other, even though Hester is married to someone else. Only Hester is punished, so Dimmesdale keeps his guilt inside, not revealing it to anyone. Hester’s husband, Chillingworth, then proceeds to ruin Hester’s partner in crime, corrupting his soul and being the ultimate cause for his death. Hester, on the other hand, leads a relatively happy life after she had repented for her sin.
Dimmesdale had achieved a brilliant popularity in his sacred office. He won it, indeed, in great part by his sorrows. (Hawthorne 128) The guilt of his sin has eaten him alive, so much that his visage and demeanor are almost cadaverous. Dimmesdale does not confess his sin until the end of the novel because he does not want to disappoint his congregation.
Throughout the story, it is clear that he wants to confess his sin, when he is yelling at the scaffold at night but he’s too weak to do it publicly. The interactions between Hester and Dimmesdale show her hold over him because she has been publicly condemned for a sin that they had committed together. His inability to reveal and accept the truth makes him extremely weak. When Dimmesdale decides to reveal the truth during his Election Day speech, he passes away because he had waited too
Dimmesdale sinned with Hester Prynne by committing adultery. Although this was terrible and looked down upon, his crime was self inflicting and done out of passion. After Hester was punished for the crime, Dimmesdale was overwhelmed with guilt and sadness. This showed that Dimmesdale was a good person
After the sin was committed, the development of guilt made Hester and Dimmesdale very miserable because they could not stop thinking about what they have done. Both of the characters kept going back to that moment, feeling remorse
He puts Hester in a no-win situation by questioning her like this. If she exposes him, he loses everything and becomes a social outcast but is released from his moral burden. Staying silent, however, keeps Dimmesdale in his position of power but also prolongs his suffering and misery. His selfish attitude towards his atonement is at odds with his otherwise cool and collected countenance, showcasing a very scared and vulnerable individual.