Research Paper on Dimmesdale

Essay by state_pHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2004

download word file, 7 pages 5.0

The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is a main character in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and is a Puritan. Puritan Society was a theocracy and therefore the bible was a strict guide to Puritan life and is interpreted very literally. In this novel, Dimmesdale has sinned. This is ironic as he is a pure, God-loving Reverend. He sinned against Hester and the townspeople; he sinned against God and sinned against himself. His sin against himself led to his eventual death at the end of the novel. In the novel Hawthorne wrote, 'He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify himself.'(Hawthorne 100) This quote refers to the vigils Dimmesdale kept. Dimmesdale was a selfish and hypocritical man but he redeemed himself in the end by confessing. However, he is still the most sinful character throughout the novel and this is shown by his character, personality, behavior, thoughts, how he is perceived and how I perceive him.

Despite his sin, his appearance was very normal and typical to that of any Puritan man in the beginning of the novel.

Reverend Dimmesdale was fairly ordinary in appearance. He was a, 'young clergyman, who had come from one of the great English universities, bringing all the learning of the age into our wild forest-land. ...He was a person of very striking aspect, with a white, lofty, and impending brow; large, brown, melancholy eyes...'(Hawthorne 46) But beneath this body, there was a secret.

Although Puritans are in the relentless pursuit of and strive for moral perfection, Dimmesdale was one who failed in this attempt, for he had sinned. His sin was adultery and his partner, who committed this with him, was Hester. Many feared Hester's husband was dead due to his long absence from the town. Dimmesdale's sin...