• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Extracts from this document...


Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is the story of characters that have to live and deal with the effects of sin in different ways. Of these characters, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is the character portrayed as the weakest. Many events in the novel reveal that he is cowardly, yet still strong. The reader is first introduced to Dimmesdale while Hester is being punished on the scaffold. Revered Wilson is trying to persuade Dimmesdale to talk Hester into confessing who the father of her child is in public. They had previously had an argument over this and Dimmesdale argued by saying "it were wronging the very nature of woman to force her to lay open her heart's secrets in such broad daylight, and in presence of so great a multitude." (66) Dimmesdale gives a speech to Hester, in which he seems very compassionate but at the same time spineless. He tries to get Hester to reveal her lover's identity by telling her that it would be better for him for it to be out in the open, then for him "to add hypocrisy to sin." (67) He basically tells her she will save her lover's soul if she confesses who he is. ...read more.


(139) Dimmesdale replies by saying "I do verily believe it... Methinks, it must needs be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, as this poor woman Hester is, than to cover it all up in his heart." (139) Dimmesdale is saying this from personal experience since he himself has to cover up his sin. Instead of feeling shame, he feels guilt, which he considers to be worse. Chillingworth begins to be suspicious of Dimmesdale after this and even tells him that he thinks his spiritual health is causing the deterioration of his health. Dimmesdale becomes angry and gets out of the conversation making Chillingworth even more suspicious. A few days later, Chillingworth sneaks up to Dimmesdale while he is sleeping and lifts aside his shirt. The reader does not know what Chillingworth saw, but whatever it was, it made him rejoice. Dimmesdale continues to suffer, but this suffering causes him to deliver some very powerful sermons. His suffering allows him to relate to human weaknesses. He wants to confess so badly, yet he doesn't: "I, whom you behold in these black garments of the priesthood, -I, who ascend the sacred desk, and turn my pale face heavenward, taking upon myself to hold communion, in your behalf, with the Most High Omniscience, -I, in ...read more.


He is so inspired he goes home and throws away his old sermon he wrote for Election Day and writes a newer and better one. After he gives his sermon on Election Day, Dimmesdale mounts the scaffold with Hester and Pearl. He says, "In the name of Him, so terrible and so merciful, who gives me grace, at this last moment, to do what- for my own heavy sin and miserable agony-I withheld myself from doing seven years ago, come hither now, and twin they strength about me!" (265) The crowd is in complete shock. As he continues his confession, he starts getting weaker and weaker and Hester for support. Even though this whole thing is taking place in front of the whole town, none of the Puritans have any control over the situation. Dimmesdale acts as his own prosecutor and his punishment is the loss of his life. Dimmesdale is the character in "The Scarlet Letter" who has the biggest burden on him. He goes through seven, long years of holding in his guilt and sin, which would take a very strong person. Even though he is cowardly and hypocritical, he also has good qualities such as being strong and compassionate. He obviously knows how to touch people on a personal level, especially after they realized that even a seemingly pious person, like himself, sins. 2 Supenski ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Fyodor Dostoevsky section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Fyodor Dostoevsky essays

  1. The Scarlet Letter: Sin and Guilt

    While he had never before broken any laws, Hawthorne shows he "fearfully transgressed one of the most sacred of them. But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose.

  2. The Black Cat

    If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus nearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this manner, to my breast. At such times, although I longed to destroy it with a blow, I was yet withheld

  1. Could I Have Lived My Life Differently? : The Diary of Bigger Thomas.

    While the people are abstracted into anonymous (often, stereotypical) representatives of their race and/or class, the details of the scenery are specific in their detail and more general in their implications. The novel opens with Bigger killing a fat black rat that has invaded their decrepit one-room apartment. Even as the rat is considered as an "invasion" to be

  2. "Crime and Punishment" novel study Assignment. Outline, characters,setting and conflict.

    the civil service; she had not married, and was terribly awkward, of remarkable height, with great long almost bawdy-looking legs, always with down-at-heel goatskin shoes on her feet, and she paid especial attention to her cleanliness." (1.6.79) This passage develops Lizaveta's Character, particularly by how she is seen by others and the rumors of how she is treated by Alyona.

  1. "The Open Boat"

    on the boat or even his crew members due to the fact that he was their boss.

  2. The Black CatFor the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about ...

    The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees - degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a long time my Reason struggled to reject as fanciful - it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline.

  1. Ict and person with special needs

    She can press the letter of the alphabet the name is stored under and then the address book will go through the names of the selected letter, reading them aloud to her and then all she has to do is to press call.

  2. How is the LuLing that springs to life in her manuscript different from the ...

    There is evidence though in the text that she is intelligent. She has proof of her academic success over her sister and later on in the manuscripts we read about some shrewd ideas that she has come up with. The belief in curses and ghosts was implanted into her from

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work