Scarlet Letter

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 113
  • Published : May 17, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Dimmesdale’s Arguments:
In chapter 8, Dimmesdale, Mr. Wilson, and Governor Bellingham are visited by Hester and Pearl at the Governor’s mansion. When pearl is asked “who made thee?”, she responds that she was not made, but rather "plucked . . . off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door.". This causes the governor and Mr. Wilson to immediately become horrified and ready to take Pearl from Hester’s custody. As Pearl protests her God given right for Pearls custody, she pleads that Dimmesdale speak for her. Dimmesdale uses religious appeal to convince the governor and Mr. Wilson that God gave Pearl to Hester and it is not their right to take the child away. He says that God gave Pearl to Hester as both “a blessing and a reminder of her sin”, which is the leading argument that convinces Bellingham and Mr. Wilson to leave Pearl in Hester’s custody. Dimmesdale uses a religious allusion in chapter 8 to convince them that they should leave Pearl to Hester’s custody and he is indeed successful in doing so. By Dimmesdale sticking up for Hester so easily and powerfully, it reveals that he has deep feelings for her and he is in some way responsible for he sin.

In the first scaffold scene, as Dimmesdale try’s to persuade Hester to reveal the identity of her fellow sinner, he also at the same time convinces the townspeople that he surely is not the one who committed the sin with her by not revealing that he was in fact the man responsible. By publicly stating to Hester that she should not protect the man’s identity out of pity or tenderness, Dimmesdale is using logos to convince his audience that there is no way he could be her lover, why would he want her to reveal him as her lover? Furthermore when Hester refuses to reveal the identity of her lover, Dimmesdale doesn’t question her any further, causing the crowd to use logical reasoning in assuming that he can not be the lover of Hester. Although Reverend Dimmesdale does not convince Hester to reveal her secrets, he uses this to his advantage to convince the townspeople that there is no chance he could be her lover. In this act of persuasion that Dimmesdale uses, the reader is revealed to a heavy guilt that now weighs on the shoulders of Dimmesdale. They become aware of his hypocrisy and therefore the internal conflict he is faced with for the rest of the novel.

Hester’s Arguments:
In chapter three Hester argues with Chillingsworth about the identity of Pearl’s father. Chillingworth insists that Hester reveal to him the identity of the man and should not protect him out of tenderness. Hester responds, saying that Pearl should not know an earthly father, but rather only a heavenly one. Hester uses mainly pathos for the course of this argument. Chillingworth pathologically appeals to Hester when he tells her not to protect the man out of pitiness or tenderness. Hester also uses pathos when she states that Pearl should only know a heavenly father because this makes Chillingworth realize that Hester only cares for the well being of Pearl and not her lover. Hester tightly refuses to name the man and Chillingworth presses no further. From this argument the reader can infer that Hester is protecting herself and Pearl more than the identity of the father, thus playing with the emotions of Chillingworth. From Hester’s unyielding denial to name the father we can determine that she feels a powerful commitment towards Dimmesdale and has strong feelings for him to the extent in which she should have to suffer alone for him.

As similar to Dimmesdale’s argument in chapter 8, Hester also tries to convince the governor and Mr. Wilson to let her keep Pearl. Hester argues that she should maintain custody of Pearl because she could teach Pearl a valuable lesson, similar to the one she has learned herself. Hester uses logos because she infers that no emotional appeal will affect the decision of men who view her as a sinner in a puritan society. Hester’s...
tracking img