The Scarlett Letter

December 22, 2016 General Studies

The Metamorphosis of Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter.

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many characters that transform; one of them is Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale committed a great sin of the puritan society, he slept with another mans wife and Hester Prynne became pregnant. Hester was punished for her sin but Arthur Dimmesdale had not admitted to it, so he lives with this guilt and it is much worst for him because he is a puritan minister. Dimmesdale inflicts punishment upon himself because of his adulterated sin. Dimmesdale transforms throughout the novel always in the same place “The Scaffold.” .

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The town is all out to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne some of the women are suggesting other punishments and the women are telling us about Hester and Dimmesdale. People say,” said another, “that the Reverend Master Dimmesdale, her godly pastor, takes it very grievously to heart that such a scandal should have come upon his congregation.” (Page 49) Reverend Dimmesdale is seen as a godly man. A man who does not commit sin and in his own mind at this point he feels fine and does not have any guilt. Dimmesdale at this point in the novel is seen as godly and throughout the novel is seen as godly even at the end after the last scaffold scene. Consequently enough, Dimmesdale is trying to convince Hester to reveal the man who has sinned along with her , so the man can be relieved of his guilt, some what ironic because he is the man who has sinned along side with her. “What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him–yea, compel him, as it were–to add hypocrisy to sin? Heaven hath granted thee an open ignominy, that thereby thou mayest work out an open triumph over the evil within thee and the sorrow without. Take heed how thou deniest to him–who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself–the bitter, but wholesome, cup that is now presented to thy lips!” (Page 65) This is the first scaffold scene Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is not showing any signs of guilt at this point, he is still fairly the same and has not began to inflict punishment on himself or so it appears.


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