Have you ever met someone who did not have a weakness? Someone who can withstand anything? Most likely not. Everyone has at least one weakness. Weaknesses are a part of everyone's life. Its how you let that weaknesses affect you that makes you a strong or weak person.
In the Scarlet Letter Hawthorne portrays Dimmesdale as a weak person. Throughout the novel he shows his true character by the way he lets his weaknesses destroy him. He constantly worries about he secret getting out and punishes himself for what he has done.
Dimmesdale has many weaknesses that all lead back to one main one, Hester. He is a priest and knows she is married but they still commit adultery. This leads to Hester's pregnancy and the townspeople's knowledge of her adultery. They don't know however that Dimmesdale is the father, which cause him great guilt. The guilt he feels cause him to punish himself by whipping himself, " In Mr.
Dimmesdale's secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge (whip used for punishing oneself) " (Hawthorne 133). This quote is a good example of how guilty he feels. He feels so guilty that he let his weakness control him that he whips himself.
Another thing that shows what a weak person Dimmesdale is, is his selfishness. He is always worried about what people will think of him and not the feelings of Hester and Pearl. He doesn't want anyone to know what he has done so he keeps his hand over his heart to hide his secret. As shown repeatedly in the book "Ã¢ÂÂ¦the young minister at once came forward, pale, and holding his hand over his heartÃ¢ÂÂ¦."(Hawthorne 104). He does this in fear that someone will see the guilt his heart holds.
Another example of his selfishness is the fact that he is afraid that people will look at Pearl and see some resemblance. He is afraid that they will know he is her father, "Ã¢ÂÂ¦this dear child, tripping about always at thy side, hath caused me many an alarmÃ¢ÂÂ¦that my own features were partly repeated in her face, and so strikingly that the world might see them!" (Hawthorne 189). He tries to not stand near Pearl or talk to her so no one will see the resemblance.
Dimmesdale lets his weaknesses destroy him. He uses self-punishment to help with the guilt. He also spaces himself from Hester and Pearl. In the end his weaknesses cause him so much pain and guilt he can't take it anymore. He finally gives in and confesses on the scaffold. After his confession he dies. This proves that he is a weak character. He not only lets his weakness control him he lets it kill him.
The character that Hawthorne portrays Dimmesdale to be is an excellent example of weakness. Dimmesdale lets his weaknesses effect his life in a negative way. In doing this he destroys himself and the life he once had.