Throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Black Man lurks within Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s soul. Dimmesdale alternates between good and evil, but eventually the strength of evil begins to overcome him. At first, only being a hypocrite but then helping Hester gain Pearl’s custody, but then turning thoughts of evil into legitimate actions. Throughout this novel, Dimmesdale continues to struggle with the pull of the devil upon his character and his personality.
The evil actions and thoughts that spread throughout the pages of the novel affect and become evident Dimmesdale the most. The first occurrence of this pull upon his character, begins in the first few pages. Not only are assumptions made about Dimmesdale’s character, but hidden from site is the first incident that begins his character deterioration.
When Hester stands alone on the scaffold with Pearl clutched up against her bosom, many people ask who the adulteress’s partner is. Little do we or they know that her partner is Dimmesdale. He stands among the crowd as a hypocrite and a liar. But the reader, as well as the crowd, does not know his secret and will continue to puzzle out the mystery: “It irks me, nevertheless, that the partner of her iniquity should not, at least, stand on the scaffold by her side. But he will be known! – he will be known! – he will be known!” (Hawthorne, p.g 59). And even when the authorities push for the truth, Dimmesdale remains as silent as a mouse.
Although Dimmesdale knows he has sinned and he tries to redeem himself to Hester and become a better person. On the verge of losing her child, Hester turns to
Dimmesdale to fight for her and Pearl to stay together. After much debate, some of which is heartwrenching for Hester on the thought of losing Pearl, Governor Bellingham finally gives in and agrees to let them stay together. Although he still has managed to keep a portion of his good side, he doesn’t wipe his soul of his hypocritical actions....
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