He feels guilty for having an affair with Hester and keeping it a secret. As a result, he punishes himself physically, going to great lengths to try and rid himself of guilt. He lives his life hiding the truth from others, while watching Hester struggle to come to terms with the truth. The height of the hypocrisy in the situation comes when Dimmesdale tells Hester, "Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him-yea, compel him, as it were-to add hypocrisy to sin (Hawthorne 58)?"
He knows what is right and wrong but one example has been haunting him in his life. Now in a Puritan society, sin had to have been confessed publicly and they must bear their shame. This however goes against what the Word actually says and this is what created Arthur Dimmesdale as a character. He most likely has already repented to God but his guilt will not leave until he confesses it to his congregation and it leads him to other “ways” of repentance. Being reminded of his guilt 24/7 causes his his health to deteriorate to the point of death, possibly alluding to the fact that the wages of sin are death.
Arthur Dimmesdale, the embodiment of “human frailty and sorrow” is one of the most interesting characters in The Scarlet Letter. Dimmesdale, a pastor revered by all around him, strong, but a cowardly individual. For example, Dimmesdale lived with the guilt of committing adultery with Hester Prinne for about seven years. Dimmesdale inward struggle mimicked his outward appearance of emaciation. Even though, Hester bore the cruel burden, punishment, and ostracized of their sin, he continued to keep their sin secret no matter how much it pained him.
Dimmesdale spent his entire life in guilt and remorse for the sins he had committed (“Who”). 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
Arthur Dimmesdale from The Scarlet Letter however, set a more destructive path for himself. Although his pride did affect Hester Prynne and his daughter Pearl, It still was more about him torturing himself instead of admitting and confessing to what he did wrong and relieving himself of that guilt and pain. Instead he chose to live with the knowledge that he did all of this because he was so proud of his status in his community as the minister and didn't want to lose that respect everybody had him. The reason he didn’t tell the truth about the adultery was because of this very pride and he admits it. But, not to suggest more obvious reasons, it may be that they are kept silent by the very constitution of their nature...guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for God’s glory and man’s welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men...So, to their own unutterable torment, they go about among their fellow-creatures, looking pure as new-fallen snow; while their hearts are all speckled and spotted with iniquity of which they cannot rid themselves.
John Proctor suffers from a sense of excessive pride throughout the entirety of the play. In Act II of The Crucible the reader sees Proctors pride when he is arguing with Elizabeth, his wife, about sin he committed with Abbigail. One line that supports this is “I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you, and still an everlasting funeral marches round your heart. I cannot speak but I am doubted, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house!” (Miller 58) Proctor acts as if he has done no wrong and will not have a soft heart towards his wife who is doubtful after he committed
It was for the strange reason that he was cruel, that the poor fellow never killed a man who asked for mercy, or committed a cruel action which he could have prevented.” (White 339) All of these strange feelings contradicting each other inside him cause him to have a lot of problems growing and changing. He is unable to grow as a person for most of the story after due to his own inner struggles, but he does change his mind about and regret many things, like when he killed Gareth and Gaheris, “’You couldn't help it.' 'I could have helped it.' He was in his customary religious misery. 'It was my fault.'"
On the other hand, John Proctor gets an offer to save himself by providing false confession to public. He struggles between his religious integrity and his reputation. This struggling shows his imperfection, but, by the end of the play, he feels shame for his fellow prisoners, who are brave to die for their integrities. He says, “For now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but enough to keep it from such dogs.” (Miller IV.133), tearing the paper he signs.
I believe that John Proctor grows tired of the accusations, as to why he speaks of his false involvement with Satan in front of the town. Specifically, Deputy Danforth uses John Proctor as an example for conviction as he is certain he will be able to turn others
This can often lead to them not handling tragedy well, because they feel as though their morals have failed them. Wilson truly loved Myrtle, so after her death Wilson goes on a rampage. He thought of himself as a man of God, but after looking at where that got him, he decides that his morality should take a backseat to his vengeance. After feeling as though his religion has failed him. Wilson decides to make Myrtle’s killer pay, believing that by seeking vengeance, he will somehow be able to cope with his tragedy better.