Character analysis of Arthur Dimmesdale from THE SCARLET LETTER

Essay by BlitzedHigh School, 10th gradeB, October 1996

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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


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, ÿnervous sensibility and a vast power of self restraint.ÿ 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 doesnÿt 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


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

Hesterÿs 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...