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Scarlet Letter Essay

977 words - 4 pages

Hypocrisy leads to the corruption of a scruple of institutions, like poison leads to the withering of beings. Throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the theme of hypocrisy is evident in the prominent characters. Two main characters, Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale are hypocritical due to the fact that they are not performing their duties the way they ought to be. Roger Chillingworth is the town doctor but he does not utilize his knowledge of medicine to the best of his ability. Furthermore, Arthur Dimmesdale is a respected minister but he is slowly being eaten away at by the sin he committed. All in all, hypocrisy is displayed in The Scarlet Letter in the actions of ...view middle of the document...

So, Dimmesdale is a hypocrite because he is urging his lover to confess a secret that he will not confess himself. In Lucian Teasdale’s analysis on hypocrisy in The Scarlet Letter, he explains how Dimmesdale is an actor because he acts saintly to his congregation but in the privacy of his own home he breaks down and is a sinner. Teasdale explains this when he states, “Mr. Dimmsdale is a saintly minister who, through his sermons and good nature, has won the hearts of his parishioners. He is a good man, but he is fearful of ruining his saintly image by letting out his guilty secret” (Teasdale 4). Teasdale explains how the congregation loves Dimmesdale for his insightful sermons and he does not want to ruin this reputation by giving away his secret. Yet, he urges the congregation to confess their sins to live a holy life. Therefore, Arthur Dimmsdale demonstrates the theme of hypocrisy due to the way he should be acting as a minister and how he urges people to confess when he does not confess his sins himself.
Ultimately, Roger Chillingworth is a hypocrite as a result of his relations with Dimmsdale and his expected role in society as a doctor. To begin, Chillingworth blamed himself for the destruction of his and Hester’s relationship and even says, “Even if I imagine a scheme for vengeance, what could I do better for my object then than to let thee live-than to give thee medicines against all harm and peril of life…”(Hawthorne 64). Chillingworth means that he would never do anything to harm or hurt Hester. Of course, he breaks this promise by doing physical and mental harm to Chillingworth, making him a hypocrite. Moreover, in Claudia D. Johnson’s article The Productive Tension of Hawthorne’s Art, she claims that “Chillingworth maniacally uses his...

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