Dimmesdale’s Moral Tragedy The Ten Commandments plainly say you, "'Shall not commit adultery.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historical story, The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, bares the most brutal effects of such sin. This is due to several reasons. The most observable reason for his eventual breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret. Arthur Dimmesdale's sin was the same as Hester's, except Arthur, through his own disagreeable actions, leaves himself in a position to either ignore the community's idea that he is a pure and Godly man or to trick them. For most of The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale chose to lie.
It is obvious that he would rather die with a good name within Salem than live and know that he had broken his own belief and lost his pride. Procter believed that between his own village he would be seen as an untrustworthy person and said "God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name, God know how black my sins are," From these comments that John said, we can surely tell that John Proctor is an honest and trusting man who would do anything to save the name of himself, his family and his friends even if it would conclude in his own life.
Arthur Dimmesdale faces many challenges throughout the course of the novel, which causes him to evolve. Despite his many good qualities, he does not confess, while Hester Prynne gets publicly shamed for the sin they committed together. This adds up to the reader’s lack of empathy for Dimmesdale. He plays the role of “human frailty and sorrow.” The activities Hester and Dimmesdale engage in are completely unacceptable in the Puritan society. Arthur Dimmesdale is a Puritan minister, he is expected to be the representation of Puritan faith, so he refrains from disclosing the truth.
Though, his weak frame and sickly appearance only make his congregation think he is even more holy. The congregation accounts his ill visage to his “unreserved self-sacrifice to the labors and duties of the pastoral relation” (112). Yet behind closed doors, Dimmesdale would “[wield] the bloody scourge” and would hide his scarlet letter that he wore “imprinted in flesh” (268) from the public eye. The Puritan’s greatest sinner, is hidden behind lies and acts as the holiest and looked up to member in the
The most observable reason for his eventual breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret. Arthur Dimmesdale's sin was the same as Hester's, except he never confessed. "As God's servant, it is his nature to tell the truth, so the years of pretending and hypocrisy were especially hard on him." (Bloom 28) Dimmesdale also believes that his sin has taken the meaning out of his life. His life's work has been dedicated to God, and now his sin has tainted it.
God also asks all of his followers to forgive other because he has forgiven them. With the immense amount of grace that He has it’s hard to not obey him. God has so much power and is so strong that Christians are to obey him and his will. Christians fear the Lord not out of sacredness but instead out of awe of his almighty power and mercy. Although forgiving for selfish reasons do have benefits, it isn’t the right way to approach the situation of forgiveness.
Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!” (51) Hester does not want to put Dimmesdale in a worse situation than he already is in, so she never gives his name as her fellow-sinner. Instead, she carries the shame for the both of them. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a man of the cloth, lets his passion for Hester get in the way of his relationship with God. Dimmesdale wants to tell the townspeople that he is Hester’s fellow-sinner.
Even though Chillingworth tortured and haunted him until the very end of his life, the reverend had strong enough character to want God to show mercy on the evildoer’s soul. Moreover, Dimmesdale was able to forgive Hester when he told her, “I do forgive you Hester” (191). Because of his high position of authority, Dimmesdale set high standards for his life, and that reflected in the way he handled personal relationships. Also, if Chillingworth had been more understanding towards Hester’s problem, he had a better chance at winning her love back. Finally, both Hester and her lover admitted their sin on the scaffold and sought forgiveness for their transgressions while Chillingworth never could admit he sinned.
Yet I think it is incredible how faithful Job could be even when Satan took everything he cared for from him. “Job said, ‘How long will you torment me? God counts me as an enemy. My closest friends abhor me. But I know that my redeemer lives!’” Job although is angry with God he never stops believing in Him.
Mine burns in secret!" Dimmesdale realizes his fault in hiding his sin, but his desire to repent is repeatedly overcome by his craving for public approval. His continuing falsehood led to his straying away from his relationship with God. "'You shall have no other gods before me.'" (Exodus 20:3) In the words of Martin Luther, this first commandment can be best interpreted as "We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things" (Luther's *Small* Catechism).