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Character analysis of arthur dimmesdale in

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 himself for his silence

and cowardice.

On the scaffold in the chapter 23 the true sign of strength ids revealed.

To admit he is wrong takes strength, but the way that he held in his sin thus

committing two, one of the original sin, and two of the concealment, then

confessing after years of frustrating cowardice takes a stronger man. This

confession also in front of his loyal followers, who had stood by him without a

clue of his guilt. His demise was from the drain of his will which was worn and


Dimmesdale was not courageous in his actions in the story but strong.

He was able to carry the burdens, frustration , and pain throughout his life.

Whether he was good, brave, or right in what he did is to remain unseen but the

fact that he was strong is certain.

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