Character Analysis : Dimmesdale

Character Analysis : Dimmesdale

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Character Analysis : Dimmesdale

Dimmesdale is one of the most intriguing characters in The Scarlet Letter. I think this because he demonstrates in this story that he is a coward, and that he is strong, yet not courageous.

Dimmesdale proves that he is a cowardice individual many times in The Scarlet Letter. He does this by not admitting his sin. Dimmesdale had many opportunities to admit his sin and get the guilt off his chest. The first opportunity was when Dimmesdale was making his speech in front of an audience. He tried to tell the truth but more lies just came out. The second opportunity that Dimmesdale had to confess his sin was when he was living with Chillingworth, and Chillingworth told Dimmesdale to confess what was troubling him and again, Dimmesdale refused to confess. Finally, the third time that Dimmesdale had a great opportunity to confess himself was at the end of the story during the festival on the scaffold. Standing there with Hester and Pearl, Dimmesdale was still too much of a coward to admit his sin and release the anguish from his burning chest. Another way in which Dimmesdale showed that he was a cowardice person is by not confronting Chillingworth. Chillingworth was plotting revenge on Dimmesdale for an extremely long time. In fact, Chillingworth’s life was devoted to getting revenge on Dimmesdale. Being told by Hester, Dimmesdale still did not confront Chillingworth. Throughout the book, Dimmesdale was an extreme coward.

Dimmesdale’s actions in this story where not courageous, but strong. For roughly seven years, this man had to live with extreme guilt. Dimmesdale had many reasons to feel guilty. First of all he let Hester be labeled an adulteress, while he just looked on. Lastly, Dimmesdale felt guilty because he had not raised Pearl as his own. Dimmesdale showed this by being exceptionally affectionate the few times that he was around Pearl. An example of Dimmesdale showing affection towards Pearl is while in the forest, Dimmesdale softly kisses Pearl on the brow. Another action of Dimmesdale’s that proves that he is strong but not courageous, is that Dimmesdale shows extreme self-restraint. Dimmesdale had to converse with Hester in public.

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Dimmesdale did not let one clue slip that he had been with Hester and that he was the father of little Pearl. Also, in the book, it states that Dimmesdale “showed nervous sensibility and a vast power of self restrain”. While self-restraint gives Dimmesdale strength, it is also his biggest flaw.

Overall, Dimmesdale is a good person. He is just lacking the ability to be courageous enough to admit his sin to the world. Although he was strong, it ended up being his demise.
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