Summary Of Arthur Dimmesdale In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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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, know 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 obsessive need to achieve revenge. As a devout Puritan minister, Dimmesdale preaches against sin. Yet, 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’ cheat, to look into an eye that recognizes me for what I am (Hawthorne 176)! Dimmesdale expresses signs of guilt throughout the novel to himself and to Hester. He speaks about his never-ending sin. He sees himself more and more as an unforgivable sinner
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