Dimmesdale also sinned against his God. He hid and lied by omission while publicly preaching about the dangers of lying. His sin of hypocrisy did no harm to others, but created distrust in his
Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Pocket, 2004. Print. Miller, Arthur.
Even though people do make mistakes, some mistakes are considered as a crime, which people are punished for. Then, there are some who committed a crime and somehow managed to get away with it without anyone knowing. Thus, leading into feeling guilty for what they have done like Dimmesdale in the book, The Scarlet Letter, who committed the crime of adultery with Hester. This personal guilt is as bad as public punishment because it is torture to oneself, can bring emotional destruction to the people involved in the affair, and can have a major impact on one’s health. With a private guilt that Dimmesdale has, it is like torture to himself because every day he knows he has committed an unlawful act that he should be punished for.
After committing adultery with Hester, Dimmesdale takes it upon himself to decide the punishment, since nobody else is aware of his crime, which causes him to abuse himself to great extents. Hence, Dimmesdale’s shame is not a fit consequence that teaches him a lesson, rather it physically damages and even tortures him, almost resulting in his death. Another effect of the shame that impacts Dimmesdale is the toll it takes on his mental state. He no longer feels fit to lead his congregation, saying he should have “thrown off these garments of mock holiness,” revealing that he thinks he is not worthy of the pious position (173). Additionally, he soon
Her vindictiveness expressed itself through witch hysteria, setting in motion a chain of events that would lead to the death of many innocent people. “He need not have been a partisan of any fraction in the town, but there is evidence to suggest that he had a sharp and biting way with hypocrites.” (Miller 20) Being a Christian man, John Proctor struggles with the guilt of exercising the seventh commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” How can he be a Christian if he had committed an act against God? He would be a hypocrite, a quality he detested in others. Although John Proctor had an affair, he still cared deeply for his wife Elizabeth. Abigail’s whole purpose for the witch trials was to have Elizabeth convicted and killed so she coul... ... middle of paper ... ...e confession is a true religious and personal stand.
Dimmesdale is shown as being a secret sinner throughout the novel, but with the evil torturing that he receives from Chillingworth and himself it drives him to the point where he then becomes a public sinner. It is better for an individual to confess their sin than to bury it deep down. Dimmesdale, a Puritan minister, has had an affair (which he chose to do) with Chillingworth’s wife and he can’t come to the point where he can confess his sin to the public. Therefore, he is a secret sinner. By being this secret sinner Dimmesdale begins to physically and mentally break down.
Even though some males were accused of witchcraft, it was mostly the women, that were perceived to be independent or living a lifestyle outside the Puritans beliefs that were accused and executed. The men that were accused of witchcraft were mostly involved in social conflict, or a dispute of ideas with elders of the community. Beliefs and Society Puritans who experienced tragic circumstances interpreted the unfortunate events as punishment from God. This fear of the devil fueled the belief among the Puritan community that “evil forces could affect daily life and those that were accused of witchcraft had made a pact with the devil” (Foner, P.108). As fear of Satan grew, the Puritans became obsessed that the devil was trying to infiltrate their community.
Everyone makes a mistake in life that they regret; in Dimmesdale’s case, he kept his sin hidden. Hawthorne uses various methods to depict Dimmesdale’s struggle to overcome the oppressive Puritan society and reveal his true identity. The laws, religion, and members of the community set high expectations for Dimmesdale to live up to. He is pressured to please his people and obey the rules of his society, but he knows that they will not accept who he really is. The community’s expectations cause Dimmesdale to punish himself for his sin instead of confessing.
He didn’t agree with theocracy and didn’t like the way members of the clergy were treated as if they could do no wrong and other members of society were all doomed to go to Hell for the slightest mishap. This book broke the mold by showing a minister who had done wrong, and how he would be punished for it, just the same as any other person. It went through how he was tortured inside, even though the community was oblivious to the fact that he was Pearl’s father, he knew it and he also knew that God knew it and that at some point he would have to pay for his sins.
Public humiliation supposedly enforces people’s behaviors to change but does shame really influence people to change? Most people have their different opinions on public humiliation but either way Hester is a victim of this cruel well-known Puritan punishment. On the other hand, as a result of Reverend Dimmesdale withholding his sin, a hard-hitting sickness secretly hits the reverend. The scarlet letter located on Hester’s chest is a constant reminder of her wrong decision. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses the effects of sin in many ways, including public humiliation, Hester and the scarlet letter and Dimmesdale’s sickness.