Essay about The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay about The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter many critics dispute whose story is being told: Arthur Dimmesdale or Hester Prynne. The female heroism portrayed by Hester inundates the novel as opposed to the Reverend who internalizes his pain and tries to comprehend the enigmatic behaviors of the human psyche. Hawthorne utilizes the double persona of Dimmesdale to represent the character attempting to attain his goal of heavenly status yet succumbing to the manifestation of his guilt. Hawthorne inculcates the beginning of the novel with Hester as the heroine of the plot, however as Dimmesdale’s journey is further elaborated on it can be conceived that his struggle is that of a tragic hero; he strives for spiritual greatness, yet is fated to fail. Although his cowardice contrasts the status quo of a noble traditional tragic hero, he can be symbolized as admirable. Nonetheless, due to the struggles of his journey, it is arguable that Reverend Dimmesdale is the tragic hero of The Scarlet Letter.
Dimmesdale refusal of the call is him refraining from externally admitting his guilt for fear of destroying his public appearance. Throughout the novel, Pearl and Hester give Dimmesdale numerous chances to mitigate his anguish by suggesting that he publicly expose his sin. However, Dimmesdale refuses until the end of the novel at which it is too late. “His 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 which he had been born and bred" (Hawthorne 141). Rather than exposing his sins Dimmesdale kept his sin hidden because his pride was circumscribed by his public image. This is comparable to the Catholic practice of private confession followed by penan...


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...tter is a satire of the Puritan religion rather than a tragedy. Even though Dimmesdale acknowledges the fact that keeping his sin a secret devours his soul, he doesn’t reveal it until his death at the end of the novel. Dimmesdale’s reluctance to confess to adultery and stain his image represents his inability to overcome his sin. He is unable to elevate his mind above the norms of society unlike Hester. In the end of the novel the crowd perceiving Arthur Dimmesdale’s confession differently is a way Hawthorne relays the foolishness of Puritan society. Hawthorne reiterates the message that people believe what they wish to believe, whether it is true or not. Hawthorne utilizes Dimmesdale as a guilt ridden hypocrite to criticize Puritan society and that is why The Scarlet Letter is centered more on Dimmesdale 's tragedy and his journey rather than that of Hester Prynne.

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