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Arthur Dimmesdale Sins in the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthrone

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale falls in love with Hester Prynne and commits adultery. Although Hester is punished for her sin and is forced to wear the ‘A’ on her bosom for the rest of her life, Dimmesdale conceals his sin to the public because he is fearful of ruining his saintly image by voicing his secret. Throughout the novel, Dimmesdale is responsible for two sins, one of his adultery with Hester and the other of his pusillanimous failure to confess. Resulting from Hester’s adultery, Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s former husband, dedicates himself to seek revenge on Hester’s adulterous partner. In this way, the reader perceives Chillingworth as evil when in reality he goes to extreme depths to demonstrate his love for Hester. Although both Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale love Hester Prynne and are concerned about what the community will think of them, Dimmesdale’s love for Hester is insincere and devious because he is a hypocrite, a coward, and values Puritanical expectations of him above the people he cares most about.
Roger Chillingworth makes it his life’s purpose to seek out Hester’s partner and make him pay for his sin. However, Chillingworth’s underlying motivation for retribution is entrenched in his love for Hester. Although Chillingworth attaches like a “leech” (75) to Dimmesdale and wants more “revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy” (145), Chillingworth’s extreme desire for vengeance is rooted in his extreme love for Hester and therefore his actions are vindicated. Chillingworth is “most deeply and irreparably injured” (77) from Hester’s act of adultery and “lived in vain” (77). However, Chillingworth conceals the fact that he is Hest...

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... does not truly love Hester and Pearl since he causes them great suffering by selfishly concealing his sin to the community while they take the punishment. Additionally, the reader perceives Chillingworth as evil for seeking revenge when in reality he goes to extreme depths to demonstrate his love for Hester. On the other hand, Dimmesdale loves Hester and Pearl but because he is selfish and a coward he does not admit his sin of adultery to the community and as a result of his feebleness his love is insincere and devious. In conclusion, even though Chillingworth and Dimmesdale are in love with Hester and Pearl and are apprehensive about what the community will think of their secrets, Dimmesdale’s love for Hester and Pearl is phony and fraudulent because he is a hypocrite, a coward, and prioritizes Puritan society’s expectations above his love for Hester and Pearl.
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