Hawthorne's Development Of Dimmesdale In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Hawthorne’s Development of Dimmesdale “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Kahlil Gibran illustrates characterization that portrays suffering, thus enhancing one’s integrity and depth of character. The development of characters relies heavily on direct and indirect presentation. Direct presentation reveals a character through the author’s narrative, while indirect presentation occurs when the character develops from actions and dialogue. These techniques significantly illustrate different characters. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, characterization creates both powerful and unforgettable characters. Set in the Puritan community of Boston, Massachusetts,…show more content…
Ironically, the community views him as a saint, however, Dimmesdale sees a sinner within himself. His suffering reaches new heights every time the sun rises and every time the sun sets. Dimmesdale’s heart aches from dealing with his secret in isolation for such a long period of time. Hawthorne describes the reverend’s trauma by revealing that “[i]t is inconceivable, the agony with which this public veneration torture[s] [Dimmesdale]” (131). Notably, Hawthorne develops Dimmesdale’s character through interesting word choice such as “inconceivable” and “agony”. In addition, he forwardly explains the extent to which his secret has controlled Dimmesdale’s feelings. Furthermore, Dimmesdale’s inability to confess his sin to the Puritan community frustrates and, in time, overcomes him. Dimmesdale’s capacity to comfort sinners heightens the parishioners’ adulation for him. Bereft of the capability to see the truth, the townspeople’s holy opinions of Dimmesdale obscure their views. In immeasurable helplessness, Dimmesdale dreams of revealing himself as “…the worst of sinners, an abomination, a thing of unimaginable inequity…” (132). Specifically, Hawthorne’s presentation of Dimmesdale’s thoughts showcases the reverend’s self-hatred and guilt. Even as Dimmesdale tries to express that he does not embody a saint, the people of Boston only become fonder of him. Overall,…show more content…
After torturing himself for years on end, Dimmesdale still cannot find the inner-strength to reveal the sin that incessantly abuses his soul. During one lonely evening, Dimmesdale stands upon the local scaffold, attempting to feel the ignominy that Hester had so gallantly embraced. Unfortunately, he only has the courage to perform such a bold act in the secrecy of nightfall. While lost in his overwhelming thoughts, Dimmesdale, “[w]ithout any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, shriek[s] aloud… an outcry that peal[s] through the night…” (136). Hence, Hawthorne’s supply of powerful actions renders Dimmesdale’s poor integrity in a potent manner. Dimmesdale’s agony-filled scream proves his weak state of mind, lack of personal restraint, and inner affliction. Furthermore, Hawthorne utilizes actions to describe Dimmesdale’s character progression. After making plans to run away to England with Pearl and Hester, Dimmesdale’s entire aura shifts to that of a more hopeful one. As Dimmesdale enters the New England Shore ready to deliver his final sermon, “[t]here [is] no feebleness of step… his frame [is] not bent, nor [does] his hand rest ominously upon his heart” (217). Due to his hopeful future, Dimmesdale no longer feels excruciating pain in his heart and no longer represents a weak, withering character. Dimmesdale gains a
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