Dimmesdale has to suffer much more than Hester

Essay by nguyenhangUniversity, Bachelor'sB, June 2005

download word file, 2 pages 4.0

Student: Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hằng

Class: 02G

Student code: 0271119

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne


Do you think that Dimmesdale suffers more than Hester in the consequences of their sin? Why or why not? Give your explanation.

Being sinners of adultery, both Hester and Dimmesdale - the two main characters in the famous novel 'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne - receive the punishment in different ways and have to endure much suffering in relation to their guilt. However, Dimmesdale seems to be much more affected by the guilt than his partner.

First of all, Dimmesdale's hidden sin and guilt cause more suffering than Hester's open ones. When standing on the scaffold with the 'ignominious letter on her breast', with 'the sin-born infant in her arms', Hester has to face the shame of her sin and also the ridicule of the community. She therefore has nothing else to face in the public and after that punishment she can go on with life without worrying about the past.

In contrast, Dimmesdale, her fellow-sinner, carrying the burden of the hidden sin, is always disturbed by the anxiety and fear of his sin being discovered.

Another element contributing to the ministers' greater sorrow is his 'zeal for God'. Since Hester has to suffer an unhappy obligatory marriage, her true love with Dimmesdale seems to be the most meaningful in her life. And it is really a consolation to her that she has loved and devoted wholeheartedly to that love. Therefore her guilt complex is partially reduced and is not as strong as her partner. In this very pious minister exists not only earthly love for a woman but first and foremost a love for God. God - faith of his life - leads the way to his mind...