Arthur dimmesdales guilt in nathaniel hawthornes novel the scarlet letter

In Junein Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, a crowd gathers to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne, a young woman who has given birth to a baby of unknown parentage. She is required to wear a scarlet "A" on her dress when she is in front of the townspeople to shame her. The letter "A" stands for adulteress, although this is never said explicitly in the novel. Her sentence required her to stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation, and to wear the scarlet "A" for the rest of her life.

Arthur dimmesdales guilt in nathaniel hawthornes novel the scarlet letter

Instead of being seen as an individual, Hester has become nothing more than a walking symbol of her crime. The first, and often the only, thing that other characters notice is the evidence of her guilt.

Because she is a child, and also because she has not grown up with much exposure to social norms, Pearl is not embarrassed to comment on this gesture. The gesture does not help Hester or Pearl in any way. The strong contrast between how Dimmesdale sees himself and how the rest of the world sees him is what leads to him always being tortured by guilt.

If he was perceived as an ordinary, average man with a mixture of good and bad qualities, Dimmesdale might have been better able to cope with his secret.

Dimmesdale partially wants to stop hiding and be honest about his past, but he is extremely sensitive to public approval and is terrified of the idea of being publicly shamed for his sins. This quote is somewhat ironic in that readers have seen Hester bravely living with her public shame because she has not had the option to hide it in the way that he does.In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the main characters struggle to overcome sin, guilt, and public humiliation in Puritan New England society.

In the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne is led to the scaffold to serve her punishment for committing adultery, a crime in Puritan culture. Mr. Dimmesdale's Feelings of Guilt and Shame in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "The Scarlet Letter" - Guilt, shame, and penitence are just a few of the emotions that are often associated with a great act of sin.

Mr. Arthur Dimmesdale, a highly respected minister of a 17th century Puritan community, is true example of this as he was somehow affected by all of these emotions after committing adultery. She shows that while the public visible mark of the scarlet letter will lead to shame, it is Hester’s inner personal knowledge of her sin that will lead to guilt.

Expert Answers

In a sense, the scarlet letter is almost unnecessary because it is Hester’s emotional and psychological guilt that . In the end, this guilt destroys him. He's a weak man who sins and won't accept his punishment, and the hypocrisy eats away at him.

Recognizing that death is imminent, he chooses to purify his soul at the last minute by confessing his sin publicly and revealing the scarlet letter A .

From the SparkNotes Blog

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, adulteress Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A to mark her shame. Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, remains unidentified and is wracked with guilt, while her husband, Roger Chillingworth, seeks revenge.

Arthur dimmesdales guilt in nathaniel hawthornes novel the scarlet letter

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is a minister in a strongly Calvinist metin2sell.com sometime before the novel begins, he has had an affair with Hester.

What are the sins of Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter? | eNotes