Dimmesdale

2268 Words10 Pages
Arthur Dimmesdale, a character of high reputation, overwhelmed by guilt, torn apart by his own wrongdoing, makes his entrance into history as the tragic hero whose life becomes a montage of pain and agony because of his mistakes. The themes leading to Dimmesdale’s becoming a tragic hero are his guilt from his sin, and his reluctance to tarnish his reputation in the town. Guilt plays a huge role in defining Dimmesdale as a tragic hero. Dimmesdale has understood that by not revealing his sin, he has doomed himself. This also connects with the constant struggle with Chillingworth. The mysteries of Dimmesdale’s guilty heart entice Chillingworth to delve into his soul and reveal what has been hidden, causing Dimmesdale great pain and suffering. His guilt is taking over, causing him to inflict pain upon himself while also experiencing true and meaningful suffering. Guilt is not the only theme in the novel that help to characterize Dimmesdale as a tragic hero, but reputation and authority in the community also help to characterize him as a tragic hero. Arthur Dimmesdale has a grand reputation and authority in his community, which worsens his downfall. The respect he had from his community makes them hurt worse when they see his decline. His excessive pride makes him ignorant to most, until the end when all things go downhill. He also made a life altering decision of whether to stay and face his guilt, or to run away from his mistakes. Arthur Dimmesdale, from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, is an example of a tragic hero because of the downfall brought about by his guilt and necessity to uphold his authority in the town.

Hawthorne uses dark diction and kinetic imagery to emphasize how Dimmesdale’s guilt causes him to experi...

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...eluctance to give himself up, and must have Hester do it for him. This guilty diction displays his longing for redemption, but how he cannot do it himself. He longs for a chance to right his wrongs, but his pride gets in the way. His hubris does not allow him to defame himself in the community and Hester must expose him. Terrence Martin explains this by saying that “he cannot surrender an identity which brings him the adulation of his parishioners, the respect and praise of his peers” (Martin 93).Martin explains how Dimmesdale cannot let his reputation in the town be tarnished, and how his hubris keeps him from confessing his sin. He cannot stand to lose the “adulation of his parishioners, the respect and praise of his peers.” Dimmesdale’s excessive pride over his authority in the town clouds his judgment and makes his downfall that much more tragic.
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