The Scarlet Letter: Free Response Question 4
Kemmy Nola proposed the idea that sometimes when people lack the feeling of completeness they begin to look for that feeling in other relationships, sex, and material things. It’s easy to say that by Dimmesdale being in a constant state of moral confusion he lacked this completeness. He looked to Hester who also lacked a sense of completeness with her husband gone. Dimmesdale fell in love with Hester and through their love they created Pearl. Dimmesdale’s epiphany during these events show his fallibility and the struggle he had doing good ; therefore, it’s easily depicted as a rising action, through the frame story of Dimmesdale’s internal and external conflict, which leads to the climax of Dimmesdale’s confession.
Throughout Dimmesdale’s encounters with the townspeople of Salem, it becomes clear to us that he is fallible. Dimmesdale lacks a moral code. As a minister the people look to him for advice; however, by the citizens talking to Dimmesdale individually it’s doing them more harm than good. Dimmesdale is sending the members of his congregation into their own states of moral confusion and changing their attitudes and behaviors. Pearl causes Dimmesdale to have an epiphany by making him realize his own fallibility. Pearl shows him that by denying her he is denying his true self.
Hawthorne establishes a paradox questioning the reason for Dimmesdale’s existence in the town of Salem. If the minister, who should be seen as perfect in the eyes of the congregation, is fallible why is he there? Pearl, the youngest character in this novel, is seen as having a direct connection to God, while the minister, Dimmesdale, has little to no connection to God. Dimmesdale has pushed himself so far and still has not found who he thinks he should be. We continue to see that Dimmesdale is a flawed character who prefers to run from his problems rather than face them.