Character Analysis of Arthur Dimmesdale

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, ˙nervous sensibility and a vast power of self restraint.˙ 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 doesn˙t 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
Hester˙s 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 lacking.
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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