The Cowardly Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

The Cowardly Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Length: 1018 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


The Scarlet Letter:  The Cowardly and Weak Dimmesdale

 

In the book The Scarlet Letter, the character Reverend Dimmesdale, a very religious man, committed adultery, which was a sin in the Puritan community. Of course, this sin could not be committed alone. His partner was Hester Prynne. Hester was caught with the sinning only because she had a child named Pearl. Dimmesdale was broken down by Roger Chillinsworth, Hester Prynne’s real husband, and by his own self-guilt. Dimmesdale would later confess his sin and die on the scaffold. Dimmesdale was well known by the community and was looked up to by many religious people. But underneath his religious mask he is actually the worst sinner of them all. His sin was one of the greatest sins in a Puritan community. The sin would eat him alive from the inside out causing him to become weaker and weaker, until he could not stand it anymore. In a last show of strength he announces his sin to the world, but dies soon afterwards. In the beginning Dimmesdale is a weak, reserved man. Because of his sin his health regresses more and more as the book goes on, yet he tries to hide his sin beneath a religious mask. By the end of the book he comes forth and tells the truth, but because he had hidden the sin for so long he is unable to survive. Dimmesdale also adds suspense to the novel to keep the reader more interested in what Reverend Dimmesdale is hiding and his hidden secrets. Therefore Dimmesdale’s sin is the key focus of the book to keep the reader interested. Dimmesdale tries to cover up his sin by preaching to the town and becoming more committed to his preachings, but this only makes him feel guiltier. In the beginning of the story, Dimmesdale is described by these words; “His eloquence and religious fervor had already given earnest of high eminence in his profession.”(Hawthorne,44). This proves that the people of the town looked up to him because he acted very religious and he was the last person that anyone expected to sin. This is the reason that it was so hard for him to come out and tell the people the truth. Dimmesdale often tried to tell the people in a roundabout way when he said “…though he (Dimmesdale) were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Cowardly Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=3149>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Transformation of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter:  The Transformation of Rev. Dimmesdale "Life is hard, but accepting that fact makes it easier." This common phrase clearly states a harsh fact that Rev. Dimmesdale, a character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, had to face. In this story of deception and adultery set in the Puritan era, Hawthorne introduces Dimmesdale as a weak and cowardly man who refuses to take responsibility for his actions.  The Rev. Dimmesdale is a transitional character in that he is, at the beginning of the novel, outwardly good but inwardly deceitful and by the end of the novel he becomes both outwardly and inwardly truthful....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
996 words (2.8 pages)

Free Essay - Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale's Double-talk in The Scarlet Letter

- Dimmesdale's Double-talk in The Scarlet Letter Abstract: Critics of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter' are wrong to attribute to Hester the means of persuading Dimmesdale to elope with her and their child. It is Dimmesdale who uses his rhetorical mastery to talk Hester into talking him into eloping. An analysis of his conversation with Hester in the forest in comparison with his sermons shows that he is using the same discursive strategy he employs to convince his parishioners that he is a sinless man....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
1203 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale is the Greatest Sinner

- Arthur Dimmesdale is the Greatest Sinner in The Scarlet Letter It is strange how often other peoples' sins seem so much worse in comparison to our own. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel, The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale, an adulterate minister, seems to believe that Roger Chillingworth, the husband of his lover, is somewhat lacking in righteousness, when in fact, Arthur himself has "deeply sinned." Through his adultery, his lying, and his lack of faith, Arthur Dimmesdale wrongs more than anyone else in the novel....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
437 words (1.2 pages)

Character of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

- The Character of Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter In The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is considered a very honorable person by almost everyone in the Puritan town. Practically no one would believe that he would have the ability to do any evil, much less the sin of adultery. On the contrary, Dimmesdale feels that he is a terrible person for committing this sin and not admitting it to the townspeople. This fact affects him greatly yet unexpectedly increases his popularity by inspiring him to come about with more intensifying sermons....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
627 words (1.8 pages)

Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale and the Scaffold Scenes

- The Scarlet Letter  - Dimmesdale and the Scaffold Scenes In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," there are three very important scenes that all take place at the town scaffold, a place of great shame in their strict Puritan society. These scenes represent the progression of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale over the course of the story. Each scene involves him in some way and one can easily see that he has changed dramatically in all three. The first scaffold scene takes place in the very beginning of the story....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
410 words (1.2 pages)

Character of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Character of Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter      In Hawthorne's classic, The Scarlet Letter, the pathetic, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is fully aware of the means by which he must liberate his soul from his grave sin. Yet, throughout the story his confession remains an impediment, constraining him, from then onwards, to a life of atonement. Reverend Dimmesdale attempts to divest himself of his guilt by revealing it to his parishioners during services, but somehow never manages to accomplish the task....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
1372 words (3.9 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter - Effects of Sin Upon Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale

- The Effects of Sin Upon Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter Hawthorn shows sins of several different kinds in numerous people, as well as the consequences and remedies of their sins. Three main characters; Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth bare the most of these sins. Arthur Dimmesdale, however, bares the most brutal effects of such sin. This is due to several reasons. The most observable reason for his eventual breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
839 words (2.4 pages)

The Character of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

- The Character of Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter        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....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
1601 words (4.6 pages)

Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale and Purification Through Death in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter:  Dimmesdale – Purification Through Death Although Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is primarily the story of an adulteress atoning for her sin and conquering the insignia which brings torment to her spirit, the quest of the partner in her sin, Arthur Dimmesdale, is no less important and even more painful.  His quest, simply phrased, is to glorify God through his priesthood and expiate his sin of adultery - to save his soul -  while protecting his reputation.  To do so, he tries to continue day by day to do the work of the Lord which he so loves, while relegating to the darkest, most secret recesses of his heart the crime which he so hates.  Only in private does...   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
1267 words (3.6 pages)

Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester’s Quest for Identity in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

- Dimmesdale and Hester’s Quest for Identity in The Scarlet Letter      While allegory is an explicit and tempting reading of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, I see in this novel also the potential of a psychological reading, interpreting it as a search for one’s own self. Both Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne goes through this process and finally succeeded in finding the duality of one's personality, and the impossibility of complementing the split between individual and community identity....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
2491 words (7.1 pages)

Related Searches

”(Hawthorne,65). Dimmesdale obviously is trying to tell her that he does not want to hide with this guilt and that he will feel it and have temptations later but also that he is going to go through life with the sin. Dimmesdale is obviously hiding behind his religious mask and is afraid to come out and tell his secret. This secret tears him apart and eventually is the cause of his death. Reverend Dimmesdale was torn apart by his sin. It made him do and think evil things. The sin even made him resort to flagellation in order to make the pain of the guilt go away. This self-prescribed torture eventually lead to Dimmesdale’s death on the scaffold where he did as he promised Pearl; holding her and her mother’s hands in front of the entire community. His torture included him pushing himself to become a better minister to help keep the guilt pushed back inside his head. He began working extremely hard hoping that his work would make the community think of him as an even more holy man. This, in turn made him feel even guiltier and that made him push himself even harder to try to hide his guilt. Dimmesdale even puts himself through self-beatings. Where once he was an attractive man, he was now considered a pale, weak, emaciated coward who could barely walk and would have great pains, in which he would grab his chest. His torture brought him to his death where he died upon the very scaffold that Hester, his fellow sinner, had stood to face her punishment. Dimmesdale, throughout the book, knows where he is and what he is doing. He is seen in the book as a reverend and to the reader as a man who is quite well-known in the community, but is obviously hiding something. This keeps the reader interested in the book: Dimmesdale’s regression and why he regresses to his deathly state. What he had done to get there keeps the reader interested and wondering why he is so depressed. By the time the reader knows that Dimmesdale was the partner in Hester’s sin, the reader keeps reading to know why he committed the sin and why he is in such great pain. Dimmesdale adds great suspense as to what he will do next in his ghastly state where he is almost tempted to say blasphemous things and even tell children about naughty words. He is a questionable character and this makes the reader want to know how he will end up at the end of the book. Dimmesdale begins the story as a handsome, religious figure in the community and slowly becomes more cowardly. He hides himself behind a mask of lies and cannot bring himself to come out from hiding. He tries a few times to get Hester to tell the town that he is the other sinner, but he cannot do it himself. His body and soul shrivel up and he eventually dies, but not before he does one act of courage and tells the entire town that he is the adulterer. Dimmesdale was the victim of his own cowardliness and also the victim of Chillingworth’s hatred and revenge. If he could have been brave enough to tell the truth, he may have been able to save himself and ended Hesters’ pain before it began. Dimmesdale is a cowardly, weak man and he becomes more so throughout the entire book. He doesn't go through any major changes, but the worst characteristics of his character become more prominent. This eventually causes him to die.
Return to 123HelpMe.com