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Scarlet Letter Essay

979 words - 4 pages

Evan Mowrer Per. 3 Jr. English Scarlet Letter Jan.10, 1999 Word count 894 Arthur Dimmesdale, the principal character in Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter is a troubled individual, for in him rests the central conflict of the book. On the one hand, he is moved by his heart his love for freedom and his passion for Hester Prynne. On the other hand, he is ruled by his head, his knowledge of Puritanism and its denial of all fleshly love. He has committed sin of adultery but is unable to see divine forgiveness, believing as puritans did that that there was no grace for the sinner. His dilemma his struggle to cope with sin, is clearly evidenced in the three scaffold scenes depicted in the ...view middle of the document...

" (pg.80) Where she stands being humiliated, while Arthur Dimmesdale looks on watching her being humiliated but still will not admit to his sinful act. The twelfth chapter is about the second scaffold scene where that Arthur Dimmesdale decides to go out at midnight and stand on the scaffold and admit his sin. "The minister might stand there, if so pleased him, until morning should redden in the east." (pg.167) To his surprise, there's nobody there to find him. Except Hester and Pearl who he asked to step up onto the scaffold with him so they can all be together. But they refused and ask him to come and stand with them the next day but he refused. "And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiration, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his breast, right over his heart." (pg.168) Later that night Roger Chillingsworth comes to find him and takes him home to heal him, yet secretly kill him. "Poor, miserable man! What right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose." (pg.168) That day Hester and Pearl are marched through the market place to stand on the scaffold once again and again asked to tell who Pearls father was, but once again Hester refused. This scaffold scene isn't the same as the first because the towns people don't make as big of deal about it because it's old...

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