Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale

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Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale Reverend Dimmesdale is one troubled man. A brilliant speaker, a kind man, a wise reverend everyone loves this guy. He’s pretty much a rock star in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. However, he was also Hester’s adulterous lover and the father of her child, Pearl. He remains silent about his sin, even while he publicly urges Hester to reveal the name of her lover. The narrator indicates that Dimmesdale is one of those individuals who secretly practices self-abuse to punish himself for his sin. This suggests that he is susceptible to shame. He prefers to punish himself rather than to be punished by others. Dimmesdale is a hypocrite through much of the book and movie. He remains the respected and saintly minister on the outside, but his conscience eats away at him until he can hardly stand himself. For several years, Dimmesdale is silent, and his health worsens as a result. Today, we would maybe say he’s depressed, and that his depression is so bad that it becomes fatal. In Christian theology, sin leads to death unless an individual accepts God’s free gift of forgiveness. In Dimmesdale’s case, unconfessed sin literally drives him to his demise. Dimmesdale, we realize, truly loves Hester enough to show himself on the scaffold. He shows his true love to her, without her knowing his doings. Dimmesdale is part of the group of ministers sitting in judgment over Hester when she emerges from prison. But he exhorts her to reveal the name of the man who was her lover. He suggests that it might be better for that man, too, if he were revealed. The Reverend Dimmesdale represents a weak man who sins but fails to accept public condemnation for his sin. His hypocrisy, however, eats away at him until his health fails. Recognizing that death is imminent, he chooses to purify his soul at the last minute by confessing his sin publicly on the scaffold. This
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