Arthur Dimmesdale faces many challenges throughout the course of the novel, which causes him to evolve. Despite his many good qualities, he does not confess, while Hester Prynne gets publicly shamed for the sin they committed together. This adds up to the reader’s lack of empathy for Dimmesdale. He plays the role of “human frailty and sorrow.” The activities Hester and Dimmesdale engage in are completely unacceptable in the Puritan society. Arthur Dimmesdale is a Puritan minister, he is expected to be the representation of Puritan faith, so he refrains from disclosing the truth.
The sins he committed were as follows: Dimmesdale let Hester Prynne take the full burden and punishment of their sins alone; he abandoned his illegitimate child and never cared for her out of fear; and he brought great turmoil into Hester's life as well as Pearl's life. Although Dimmesdale did come clean at the end before his death, he should have come clean in the beginning. Everyone commits sins; if you did not commit any sins then you would be perfect. But what judges you as a character is whether or not your willing to pay the price for those sins, and Arthur Dimmesdale did pay the price of his life at the end.
When a secret is hidden inside it can engulf and even destroy a person. Arthur Dimmesdale, a revered young minister in the town, demonstrates what happens to the soul. Dimmesdale, as it is later made known, commits the serious crime of adultery with a young married woman named Hester Prynne living in the Plymouth Colony. Hester is unwilling to reveal her partner in sin. Dimmesdale’s fear of persecution and humiliation forces him to keep his sin a secret.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Dimmesdale and Danforth's sins have similar motives, but the characters have distinctly different methods of sin and resolution. Dimmesdale is a selfish coward. He does not work toward anything substantial. Although he supposedly loves Hester, he refuses to admit that he was her ?fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer? ( Hawthorne, 65).
The Scarlet Letter that Hester Prynne wears symbolizes the change in perception of sin through out the novel. Due to the revelations of the governor Winthrop and the reverend Dimmesdale, the way sin is perceived changes from one of shame to the idea that every one is a sinner in their own right. In the beginning of the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is standing on a scaffold, before puritan elders, being tried for adultery. The elders find her to be guilty and sentence her to the wearing of a scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life. The people of the town were angry and astonished that Hester, a fair young lady, had sinned.
Others feel that a person's punishment should be based upon the severity of their crime. However, what many people overlook is the fact that in time, we all have committed sins. In The Scarlet Letter, the idea of sin and punishment is the main theme of the novel and how Hester Prynne, the main character, has been punished for her sin of adultery. As Nathaniel Hawthorne states in this novel, "In the view of Infinite Purity, we are sinners all alike." This statement puts a big question mark on the true lives of the Puritans.
While Hester’s mister hid in the shadows, she was branded with a scarlet letter A for adultery as punishment for her sin. The scarlet letter was more than a piece of cloth over her chest; it was reminder to everyone around about Mrs. Prynne’s actions. Hawthorne uses biblical and spiritual allusions to argue that guilt causes individuals to change their lifestyles. Beginning with Hester, Hawthorne uses allusions to the Bible to argue the change in lifestyle brought forth by guilt. Upon being punished for her sins, Hester’s guilt overtook her mind and transformed her actions.
Cursed with the permanent mark of adultery upon her bosom, Hester Prynne, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, faces many hardships and disgrace. Referencing these hardships, Hawthorne portrays the scarlet letter as the forbidden mark of adultery. Upon first meeting Hester, the scarlet letter is a symbol for adultery and disgrace. As the story progresses, the scarlet letter evolves into a symbol of wisdom and identity. Hawthorne utilizes each different meaning of the scarlet letter to make a commentary on the Puritan society.
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.
Dimmesdale does not survive because society is never given the opportunity to acknowledge his sin, and therefore he is unable to be at peace with himself. Chillingworth does not survive, and is in fact the worst of the three, because he takes it upon himself to do what is society should have done--punish the sin of another. If we are to believe what Hawthorne shows us in The Scarlet Letter, the optimal reaction to sin is to punish it before the sight of all, for we as humans forgive more easily than hate, and with time will reaccept the sinner into society, while we will leave those who have sinned yet remain silent, whether their silence be willing or unwilling, to be destroyed. Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter.