Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, provides us with
intricate characters to analyze and evaluate. Hawthorne carefully
constructs his characters, giving them each different emotions, values,
physical attributes, and thus creating different souls. One sees character
development throughout the book, until at the end, one is left with an
image of a seemingly "real" person. One of Hawthorne's carefully
constructed characters is, Arthur Dimmesdale. With Arthur, one sees how
sin changes him dramatically, causing in him moral conflicts. Dimmesdale
is continually trying to see who he is.
In the beginning of Hawthorne's novel, we are introduced to Hester
Prynne, who has been condemned for adultery. Through this sin, she has a
child named Pearl. The bigger controversy though, is who is Hester's
"partner in crime." But for seven years, Hester does not reveal it to
anyone, not even her husband, Roger Prynne, who comes to town the day she
is brought up on the scaffold. Prynne is not happy about finding his wife
convicted of being an adulteress. He feels that the other guilty party
should be up on the scaffold with her. His deep want to find the guilty
party, leads him to disguise his identity, and he becomes, Roger
Chillingworth. Hester agrees to keep his secret. The novel takes us
through the seven years that Hester keeps quiet. A reader of the novel
finds out early that Arthur Dimmesdale is the man Hester is trying to
One notices, that even in the beginning, there is deep inner
conflict affecting Dimmesdale....
... middle of paper ...
...ter of Dimmesdale is excellently constructed
through the actions and words that Hawthorne writes.
Works Cited and Consulted
Brodhead, Richard H., "New and Old Tales: The Scarlet Letter," Modern Critical Views Nathaniel Hawthorne, New York, Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.
Dibble, Terry J., Cliff Notes on The Scarlet Letter, Lincoln, Cliff Notes, Inc., 1988.
Fogle, Richard Harter, "The Scarlet Letter," Hawthorne's Fiction The Light and The Dark, Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1975.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: St. Martins, 1991.
Matthiessen, F.O., "The Scarlet Letter," Critics on Hawthorne, Readings in Literary Criticism: 16, Coral Gables, University of Miami Press, 1972.
Matthiessen, F.O., Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Scarlet Letter, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Halls Inc., 1968.
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