The Scarlet Letter

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2002

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Evaluation of Mr. Arthur Dimmesdale 8/1; Mr. Dimmesdale's first visit: Even though I am a counselor and I usually deal with people who need help, I was surprised today when a very peculiar as well as anxious man visited my office. His name was Arthur Dimmesdale and he came to me seeking relief from something he had been hiding for years and years. When I asked him about what he was hiding, he was a bit timid in elaborating, but eventually I got him to tell me everything.

His saga began over six years ago, when he and a woman committed adultery. As luck would have it, this woman, whose name was Hester, became pregnant with Dimmesdale's child. She could not hide her sin, and she was publicly reprimanded and punished. Hester steadfastly refused to admit that Dimmesdale the father of her child. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, who was able to conceal his sin, did not confess.

In his Puritan society, if you don't publicly confess your sins, it is thought God will not forgive you.

After hearing his detailed story, I recommended that he try not to think of it as much, and get some extra rest. I don't believe he is in any physical danger; he only suffers from mental anxiety. I also suggested that he come see me again in about a week.

8/8; Mr. Dimmesdale's second visit: Today Mr. Dimmesdale visited me for his second session. When I inquired about his anxiety, he was quick in answering that he felt worse. He continued, saying that his health was failing and it was because of his hidden sin. I told him, in my professional opinion, that if his health was beginning to fail, this was serious. I elaborated, saying that his guilty conscience will be cleared if he publicly confesses his sin. Dimmesdale told me that he knows he must do this, but he doesn't have the courage. Instead of a public confession, he has been whipping himself and holding all night vigils to try to make up for the sin. This man is mentally unstable and he needs to confess or his health will most certainly become worse.

8/15; Dimmesdale's Third Visit: Today marked the third time Arthur Dimmesdale visited my office. When I inquired about his health and well-being, he his physical condition has continued to decline. He continued, saying that he could not bring himself to confess on the scaffold in the daytime, so he went there at night. While he was there, he met Hester and his daughter, and they stood together. Dimmesdale knew that this wouldn't clear his conscience, but he did it anyway. I insisted that he confess his sin, or surely he will die. He is showing no progress and his health is getting worse by the minute.

8/22; Dimmesdale's Fourth Visit: When Dimmesdale entered my office today, he seemed as if he was a new man. No longer plagued by a guilty conscience, he seemed as if he had no troubles in the world. When I asked him if he was normal because he confessed his sin, he said that that wasn't the reason. He continued, speaking eloquently about how he and Hester were going to go to England together after the Election Day Sermon. That way, he could leave with honor and free himself from the constant weight of bearing the sin of adultery on his back. I wished him luck and proclaimed him healthy and mentally stable.

8/29; Postscript: Dimmesdale never made it to England. After his sermon, the burden of his sin overcame him and he climbed on the scaffold with Hester and his daughter and told the world of his sin. Shortly after, he died. Dimmesdale was mentally unstable, and I should have seen through the mask of happiness he showed at his final visit. I am happy that he did what he needed to do before he died. He achieved his main goal, confessing his sin.