He nearly fails in his quest to be a holy man, as the horrific deed that he committed nearly kills him through self-hate and illness of spirit. Eventually, however, he succeeds in conquering his fears of humiliation and stands triumphant, publicly repenting for his misdeeds and dying clean of soul. It is not known until well into The Scarlet Letter that Arthur Dimmesdale is Hester Prynne’s lover, but by this point, his conscience has already begun inflicting a woeful penalty on his spirit: "His form grew emaciated; his voice...had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it; he was often observed...to put his hand over his heart with...paleness, indicative of pain" (106). Although his reputation is flawless and his parishioners believe that through death, he is to be called to a higher plane of existence, Dimmesdale says with what is believed to be humility that his looming death is "because of his own unworthiness to perform his mission here on earth" (106). In retrospect, this marks the beginning of a critical and fatal duality of Dimmesdale’s character: the public believes he is a saint, while Dimmesdale knows himself the vilest sinner.
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,
Finally, this statement creates a parallel between Chillingworth's idea of justice and the Puritans'. The theme Hawthorne builds up in Chillingworth is not simply his pain and torment. It is a more important representation of the weakness in the values of the people in Puritan times, and how their perseverance for "justice" skewed their views on life and forgiveness. Because of his mindset, Chillingworth torments himself with his goal to destroy Dimmesdale just as much as Dimmesdale tortures himself for their seven years together. Chillingworth is ruining his own life and does not realize it, because he no longer sees the value in life as he tries to ruin one.
This aspect of Satan serves as the final stage in a reader’s transition from viewing Satan as the brave leader of a just cause, to viewing him as a lowly coward. Thus, when the character of Satan is traced through its evolution of Paradise Lost, the reason behind the order of development can be seen. Milton’s desire to create a strong hatred of Satan is achieved best by highlighting Satan’s good points first. Then, when Satan’s real character begins to emerge, the reader is appalled at the actions of their “hero”, causing them to dislike him more than had he originally been a bad character. The reader’s distaste for Satan is strengthened by Satan’s shift in motives.
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.
Through them, Hawthorne teaches the lesson that concealed guilt will gradually drain its bearer of all strength and power, whereas honesty will have an empowering effect. The main characters, Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale display varying degrees of concealment. Dimmesdale is at one extreme; he is the embodiment of concealment. Pearl is at the other extreme, playfully innocent and transparent. Hester is partially exposedalthough she reveals her sin for everyone to see through the scarlet letter and she allows the dark and serious mannerisms of Puritanical soc... ... middle of paper ... ...t-ridden victims of Puritanism could not look forward to the kind of transformation that Hester underwent and, instead, they were doomed to a lifetime of misery.
Through his writing, Poe directly attributes the narrator’s guilt to his inability to admit his illness and offers his obsession with imaginary events - The eye’s ability to see inside his soul and the sound of a beating heart- as plausible causes for the madness that plagues him. After reading the story, the audience is left wondering whether the guilt created the madness, or vice versa. The story opens with the narrator explaining his sanity after murdering his companion. By immediately presenting the reader with the textbook definition of an unreliable narrator, Poe attempts to distort his audience’s perceptions from the beginning. This point is further emphasized by his focus on the perceived nexus of madness; the eye.
Hawthorne foreshadows the death and demise of Dimmesdale from the beginning of the book by keeping him cast in a dark shadow with an aching heart. Hester was continuously condemned for her sin, although it was revealed through the light constantly burning upon her chest. This illustrates the hypocrisy of the Puritan beliefs towards sin, for it was he who concealed his sin that was destined to be defeated by his ignominy, and she who was explicitly condemned that prospers and grows and is able to live a full, didactic life. Sources Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter.
Chillingworth grows uglier and more grotesque as the novel goes on because his outward appearance is reflecting in on his inner hatred, wrath, and jealousy towards Dimmesdale. Nathaniel Hawthorne believes that the only way to have inner peace is through the confession of one’s sins and the ability to move on from the past. Hester has been made beautiful because she has made the decision to let go of her past. Dimmesdale, however; refuses to admit until the very end of his life when he had nothing left to lose, making his confession less genuine and sincere. This made him weak and emaciated outwardly and inwardly.
In... ... middle of paper ... ...nding the letter “A” onto his chest to lift the hardship slightly off of Hester. Emotionally, he goes from wanting to conceal his sins to revealing to this whole community about his flaws as to lift the burden and confess his sins in a dying effort to, in a sense, apologize to God. Guilt defines the relationships and personalities of the characters in The Scarlet Letter. The protagonists shape their lives around their immense feelings of guilt and shame or their aim to bestow blame upon others. The Puritan society in which Hester and Dimmesdale live tries to create ideal laws and moral values to control its inhabitants.