“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” This quote was said by T.S. Eliot. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are three main characters that face risks throughout the story. Hester, the main character, faces the most risks than anyone without a doubt. Chillingworth, her secret husband in the novel, also faces risks but that is his own fault. Also Dimmesdale, who secretly committed the horrible sin of adultery with Hester, faces risks quite similar to Hester.
Hester is the main character and she endures risks throughout the entire story. In the beginning of the novel Hester is forced to stand on the scaffold with an embroidered A on her chest as a punishment for adultery. Although she didn’t commit this sin on her own she takes the full blame. She also has her daughter Pearl and raises her as best that she can. Hester makes a huge risk by staying in town and being embarrassed instead of moving away and starting a new life. Another risk Hester makes is keeping many secrets to protect other people. One secret she keeps is who Chillingworth really is, her husband. She also keeps the secret of who committed the ultimate sin of adultery with her, who was shockingly Dimmesdale, the Minister of their town. Risking all of this coming out in the open could make her life much worse but she stays true to her word. Near the end of the novel Hester is planning on risking everything to leave her town with Dimmesdale and Pearl and start a new life but out of nowhere Dimmesdale passes away. After everything was said and done, Hester took risks for everything she felt necessary. Although she kept secrets she stayed true to herself and others throughout the novel.
Dimmesdale is another character from the novel that takes many difficult risks. Dimmesdale’s character is the town’s minister and just also happens to be the man who committed adultery with Hester. As you may imagine there he takes many risks because of that event and has to live with it for the rest of his life. Dimmesdale most definitely takes a huge risk by keeping his position as minister and keeping the secret of adultery from the town. He may hide it pretty well but inside it eats him apart. He’s very harsh on himself and he hates the fact that he cannot be there for his daughter Pearl and Hester. It bothers him so much that it changes him as a person, he punishes himself mentally and physical. Everyone in town notices the difference slowly but surely yet no one quite knows why. Dimmesdale attempts to once in a while sneak off to see his daughter and Hester and every time he does so he’s taking the huge risk of someone finding out about them. Neither of these risks however compare to the risks that he takes towards the end of the story. After meeting with Hester and Pearl they decide to take a ship and run off together to start a new life as a family. Following through with this plan would be a risk that involved leaving everything even his job and his church behind. Just before they planned to leave, Dimmesdale gave a sermon even though Hester was the only one who could have guessed it’d be the last. To everyone’s surprise Dimmesdale called Hester and Pearl over to the scaffold during his sermon to show everyone the truth, finally. This action was the biggest risk made throughout the entire novel by any of the characters. He finally grew the confidence and felt forgiveness for his sin enough to get it off his chest. Unfortunately this wasn’t the only part to the shocking ending. Shortly after the bit announcement Dimmesdale falls over to his death unexpectedly right after Pearl gave him a kiss.
Chillingworth is the last of the characters to take risks through the book. The first risk Chillingworth takes is coming back into town after finding out about his wife committing adultery. This is the reason he changes his identity and keeps it a secret from everyone beside...