The Scarlet Letter

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade November 2001

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By: Period: "The Scarlet Letter" Sin, what is a sin? A sin is breaking one of the commandments of God. In the book, "The Scarlet Letter," there are three main characters, Roger Chillingworth, Hester Prynne, and Reverend Dimmsdale. Each one of these characters has committed sins that even today are viewed by many religions as breaking Gods commandments. The one person that I chose as my character to speak about in this essay is Reverend Dimmsdale, through extensive thought I decided that Reverend Dimmsdale has committed more sins than all the other main characters in the book. I hope to point out to the reader in this essay that, Rev Dimmsdale is above all in the worldly corruption of sin and pridefulness.

When we first meet Reverend Dimmsdale in the story "The Scarlet Letter" we see him as a nice and caring man because we first view him looking out for Hester Prynne. We soon learn that Hester and the Reverend are lovers and Hester is pregnant with his baby. When the people of the town find out about Hester Prynne being pregnant they at once think she is the devil, or the baby is the devil's spawn. The only man that seems to care for her or to stick up for her is the good old Reverend Dimmsdale, the reason he is so nice to her brings us to sin number one, the Reverend is the father of this poor baby, meaning that he had to commit fornication which is sin number one. If he was a true follower of his puritan religion, he would not have disobeyed the commandments of God in this manner. Hester did something bad by being an adulteress but what the reverend did was much worse he fornicated with another mans wife and he's a MINISTER so its not like he didn't know what he was doing. "May GOD forgive thee," said the minister, "thou, too, hast deeply sinned." (Pg 251) The second sin that I believe Reverend Dimmsdale committed is letting poor Hester Prynne take all the blame. He did make a mistake and he should have recognized it, but instead he let his lover take the whole fall, that is a sin too. "Adam fell that men might be," it says in the bible. Man is accountable for his own sins, no one else should take the fall or the blame for a mistake poor Reverend Dimmsdale made, therefore he sins once again. Rodger Chillingworth is not a coward we can see that when we hear about all his travels, I think if Chillingworth would have fornicated he wouldn't have let his partner take all the blame, but Dimmsdale is a weak Wimp who should be stronger because he's a minister of god. "People say," said another, "that the reverend Master Dimmsdale, her godly pastor, takes it very grievously to his heart that such a scandal should have come upon his congregation" (Pg 49) The third sin occurs later on in the book when the Reverend sees some poor innocent children. He then has a powerful urge to teach them bad language, this in my eyes is sin number three. I believe as do others that children are innocent and sweet things they are pure in heart, and to teach them such bad words or to have an urge to teach these words it is a sin. The Reverend Dimmsdale defiles or thinks about defiling things. When the reverend Dimmsdale had sex with Hester he made her unclean and something close to evil she now had a mark that she was an adulteress. Reverend Dimmsdale will never be able to get back Hester's purity and he knows that.

The fourth and worst sin is Reverend Dimmsdale's pride. Everyone has a little pride even if they don't think it or show it, but our friend Reverend Dimmsdale has got a bit too much pride. When he is marching in the parade he passes Hester without one single gesture toward her, he is so into himself and what he is going to say in his speech that he passes right by her and doesn't look back. Hester being a woman acts as a woman should act hurt and upset, just the day before he made promises to Hester that he would love her forever and never leave her. But now he won't even give her the time of day for a single wink? Reverend Dimmsdale has so much pride that he is afraid that Chillingworth will reveal his and Hester's secret. Everyone has pride, but some people can deal without having too much pride, like Hester for and example she wore the letter "A" her whole life she had chances where she could have ripped it off but she didn't care that was really the least of her worry's, but I bet you anything the reverends pride would have gotten to him and that letter "A" would have been torn of only too soon. "Hester, here is a new horror! Rodger Chillingworth knows your purpose to reveal his true character. Will he, then, keep our secret? What will now be his course of his revenge?" (Pg192) In conclusion, I would like to say that we all make mistakes but Reverend Dimmsdale makes more then the common puritan. He thinks that when he gets to heaven GOD will take care of him and forgive him for all his sins just because he accepts him, which in my opinion is no way near how you get to heaven, I believe that it must be done through good works that glorify God. Pridefulness and breaking the commandments of God are not my idea of good works, but then again that's just my opinion.