As a form of penance he partakes in late night vigils, starvation, and self-mutilation. His acts of penance were severe and drained him of much of his life force. Finally becoming fed up with his prolonged misery, he walked unsteadily to the podium to expose his secret, but his confession was ambiguous and inconclusive, and people thought he was speaking about the sins of humanity. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale has many opportunities to confess. One of the very first moments available to Dimmesdale to confess was on the scaffolding in the beginning when Hester was publicly humiliated in front of the townspeople.
Looking upon his situation with the Puritan perspective, Mr. Dimmesdale “…loved the truth and loathed the lie, as few men ever did. Therefore above all things else, he loathed his miserable self” (136). Mr. Dimmesdale felt he was living a lie for he, the very man who preached to the community about living a pure life, was living one tainted with... ... middle of paper ... ...y, Dimmesdale suffered constantly from corporal afflictions as well as the internal conflict of coping with his actions. After the initial sin, Mr. Dimmesdale lived a life of endless struggle and underwent the most suffering throughout The Scarlet Letter. Dimmesdale allowed his life to become consumed with guilt and the quest to complete a suitable penance, which brought him sorrow, self-hatred, and the demise of his body and spirit.
Dimmesdale talks of how hard it is to preach to a congregation and save souls when his is polluted. In every action he does he feels bad for the crime he has committed and it shows with his health. For not being able to obtain peace of mind he looses sleep and proper nourishment and eventually his health for a very long period of time. When one can not obtain peace of mind in my opinion it is because ninety-nine percent of the time something is on their conscious. A conscious was God given meaning that there for Dimmesdale is constantly feeling bad begging for forgiveness from God.
His sin of adultery helped him feel what he couldn’t’ feel before. Dimmesdale 's words are now far more sensitive and deeper because he has the experience torturing him every day. Even with his fault, Arthur continued his life following Hester helping her the best he could as the guilt slowly sank in. Arthur Dimmesdale has now met Roger Chillingworth an English scholar. Chillingworth is Hester Prynne’s husband but agrees to not tell anyone of this because of the shame that he would get from his wife’s depravity.
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”.
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.
The Scarlet Letter - Chillingworth and the Greatest Sin When asked to describe Roger Chillingworth, peers say he was an upstanding, respectful, concerned citizen. They would have been right, but he didn’t let anyone know just how much he cared. With the loss of Hester, he became filled with anger and jealousy and eventually let his emotions overtake him. At the close of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the malevolent state of Roger Chillingworth’s heart made him the guiltiest. Throughout the entire novel, every character except for Roger Chillingworth learned to forgive and cleared his or her heart of guilt.
The suffering he sees all around him appears to be senseless. “Doubts of such kind gnawed at the chaplain 's lean, suffering frame insatiably. Was there a single true faith, or a life after death?”(268) The character in Catch-22 who most illustrates the theme of existentialism is the cynical Yossarian. He constantly questions the point of anything he does. Even an act that one might see virtue in, Yossarian questions: “I used to get a big kick out of saving people’s lives.
She has become more caring although her lifestyle became worse. As for Reverend Dimmesdale, he is completely enveloped by his guilt from the sin that he has committed and is unable to come forward to confess it. Instead, he tortures himself each and every day. Hawthorne writes, ?His [Dimmesdale?s] inward trouble drove him to practices more in accordance with the old, corrupted faith of Rome than with the better light of the church ? In Mr. Dimmesdale's secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge.?
Although he portrays the pious pastor, Arthur Dimmesdale handles his sin, adultery, by hiding this fault from everyone and in turn destroys himself with his guilt. Beginning in chapter three, the townspeople constantly see Dimmesdale with his hand over his heart. He does not posses the courage to show his shame openly, so he decides to punish himself through physical pain and nightly vigils. This torture becomes evident in chapter ten when Chillingworth removes Dimmesdale's garments and rejoices at the image of a scarlet letter, along with other markings, upon the preacher's chest. His strong sense of guilt also becomes apparent when he takes a midnight walk to the scaffold, where Hester and Pearl join him.