Book: Scarlet Letter Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne Title of Paper: Allegiance This essay Parallels Arthur Dimmesdale from The Scarlet Letter to Kenneth Lay, the former CEO of Enron

Essay by StevenForsbergHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2003

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In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale is a young Puritan pastor who has committed adultery. While Hester was looked at with scorn for the sin that she had committed, Dimmesdale was greatly respected by the whole community, who were unaware that he had committed the same sin as Hester. The way in which Dimmesdale broke his allegiance to himself, Hester, and his Puritan community can be compared to the way that Kenneth Lay, the CEO of Enron mislead his employees and the Enron stockholders.

Dimmesdale can be compared to Kenneth Lay in how he was a leader who committed a crime, severing his self-integrity. In making the decision to commit adultery, Dimmesdale put himself in front of the community that he was a part of. This is very similar to what Kenneth Lay did. He did what was best for his bank account, without a care for his employees and the stockholders.

Dimmesdale's justification for keeping his sin a secret was, " [Sinners] shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because, thenceforward, no good can be achieved by them; no evil of the past be redeemed by better service." (122) He believed that he would be able to redeem himself only if his sin was kept secret from the town. Though this may be accurate, his guilty conscience eventually ate away at his soul until he finally died, only after admitting to his sin in front of the whole town.

Hester is similar to the managers at Enron in how she was lead astray by a leader,

yet she still consciously committed a crime. Dimmesdale is Hester's pastor and is seen as an authority figure, as shown in the quote, "Good Master Dimmesdale/ the responsibility of this woman's soul lies greatly with...