Character Analysis of Arthur Dimmesdale in "The Scarlet Letter"

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Pages: 2 (486 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Character Analysis of Arthur Dimmesdale in "The Scarlet Letter"

The Scarlet Letter is a story of characters that have to live and deal with the effects of sin in different ways. Of these characters, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is the character portrayed as the most weak and unnoble. Despite this portrayal Dimmesdale was a stronger character than given credit for. His unbelievable amount of control in his way of handling his burdens displays his great sense of strength and intellect.

We first see Dimmesdale portrayed as a nervous and sensitive individual. Despite his outer appearance, inside Dimmesdale is a very stable, strong person. Chapter Three states that he showed, ÿnervous sensibility and a vast power of self restraint.ÿ While this seems to give Dimmesdale great strength, it is also his largest flaw. His body refuses to do what his heart says is right. Dimmesdale instructs Hester to reveal the truth, but when she refuses he doesnÿt have the willpower to confess himself. Therefore, his sin becomes even larger than hers, because while hers is an exposed sin. He continues to lie to himself and his followers by keeping his secret hidden, so his is a concealed sin. Here Hawthorne shows us just how strong Dimmesdale actually is, by allowing him to hide his sin and bear the weight of it, he creates an extremely interesting and tremendously strong character.

The scaffold is the place that Dimmesdale shows the amount of pain and self-loathing he is truly capable of concealing. He realizes that he is as much at fault for Hesterÿs torment as any common villager, if not even more so. Seven years prior, Hester stood in this place and took the punishment for both of them while he quietly stood aside and led people to believe that he also condemned her. During those long seven years he made no move to lessen her load or his own. Now Dimmesdale has had all that he can bear and lets out a yell that draws the attention of fellow villagers. He curses...
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