Dimmesdale Is a Coward

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Sin Pages: 2 (709 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Arthur Dimmesdale, an eminently respected reverend in The Scarlet Letter, as a coward whose actions towards Pearl, Hester, and himself.By refusing to acknowledge Pearl as his daughter, allowing Hester to remain culpable for adultery, and by hiding behind his reputation, the reverend behaves cowardly.

Invision this: you live your entire life being unaware of your paternity. Worse yet, your father refuses to accept you as his daugher. Unfortunately Pearl has to live with this tragic fate. As Pearl flourishes from infant to animated child her father, Reverend Dimmesdale, observes unobtrusively. Yet, he remains anonymous, refusing to affirm the truth, of his role. As if this abandonment is not bad enough, Dimmesdale constrains himself from interacting with Pearl. The inadvertency and desertion of a father contributes to Pearl’s ideas regarding her earthly and heavenly father. Readers who conceive Dimmesdale as not a coward dispute that, despite his dismissal of Pearl, he endorses Hester as caregiver to sustain Pearl. Admittedly, keeping Pearl is a benefit, as “she [Pearl] is the only treasure in my [Hester’s] life.” Nevertheless, Dimmesdale abstains from helping Pearl; monetarily, physically, emotionally. His actions leave Pearl indignant with fatherly figures. Readers detect the trait when Pearl renounces her heavenly father, and later when she hails her birth father as the devil. Pearl’s etiquette is normal by the inexistence of a father figurehead, Dimmesdale. By being cowardly and not accepting Pearl as his own, Arthur sentences her to a rough life. What Dimmesdale does to Hester however is iniquitous.

Dimmesdale possesses the capability to repent his sins and accept the accusations that transpired with his and Hester’s infidelity. Instead, he becomes the utter embodiment of a coward, allowing Hester to endure the burden alone. The adultery requires two people in order to take place. Therefore, why should only Hester...
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