The Importance of the Truth in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Importance of the Truth in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The main characters whose lies devastate the characters in the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, are Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Hester. Each character has once told a lie either about their character or identity. First, Dimmesdale is well-known in the community as a minister who gives sermons. But the townspeople do not know about the affair between him and Hester. He lies because he does not want to give up his reputation as a minister. The effect of him lying is that he has a guilty conscience, thinks that he “sold himself to the devil”, and ironically, people view him as a saint. (Hawthorne 193). Next, Chillingworth is an old man who is well-known in the community as the town doctor who makes medicine and takes care of people when they are sick. He lies because he does not want anyone to know his real identity. The effect of him lying is that he turns into an avenger who tries to destroy Dimmesdale. Finally, Hester is well-known in the community as the woman wearing the scarlet letter A because she commits adultery and became pregnant with a baby girl named Pearl. She lies because she does not want anyone to know about the affair between her and Dimmesdale. The effect of her lying is that her and Dimmesdale can not see each other publicly, Pearl does not have a real father to look up to each day, and Dimmesdale’s character begins to deteriorate.
As the story continues, Hester is the first character to reveal the truth, which will affect Dimmesdale the most.
One of the main characters to lie is Dimmesdale, a well-known minister in Massachusetts. His motive for lying is to keep his reputation as a minister by not telling anyone that he commits adultery with Hester and is the father to Pearl. He...


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... to know his identity so that he can torment Dimmesdale. The effect of him lying is that he turns into an avenger because he wants to see Dimmesdale suffer. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the main characters in the novel as an example of dishonesty, because each of them has the capability of telling the truth. For instance, Hester could have told the truth in the beginning about Dimmesdale being the father to Pearl, but she waits until she sees Dimmesdale at his weakest point. The reason why Dimmesdale is at his weakest point is because Chillingworth is tormenting Dimmesdale while Hester keeps quiet. The longer one waits to confess the truth, the more damage he or she is doing to themselves and to others. If the truth was spoken earlier, Dimmesdale will be a happy minister, Hester will not wear the Scarlet Letter A, and Chillingworth will not turn into an avenger.

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