The End Of Dimmesdale Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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his weakness. When he collects the courage to confess, he chooses to do so at night when no one is around to witness his confrontation, and cannot even remain solitary, but requests the presence of Hester and her daughter, Pearl. It is not even possible for Dimmesdale to hold his own composure, as he is “carried away by the grotesque horror of this picture . . . and to his own infinite alarm, burst into a great peal of laughter” (151). He is unable to acknowledge his sin during the day due to his fear of the reaction of the community in dealing with the fact that their well-respected minister has been a part of a great sin. When the minister does finally reach a point of confession, he does so in the manner of a weak and cowardly person. He holds his sin for seven years –

seven years of silence and sinning, seven years of inflicting pain and torture. Once he reaches a point near death, he chooses not to confess out of goodness, but out of the knowledge that if he does, he will have a chance of forgiveness from God. His confession does not contain even a slight shred of dignity or courage – he has to coerce Pearl and Hester to join him on the scaffold for fear of being alone. Dimmesdale completely avoids confrontation by confessing before death. He does not suffer any public humility or embarrassment as Hester has. He does not witness the reaction of the community. Hence, he escapes all punishment. The confession of Arthur Dimmesdale only exposes his cowardice to his community and denounces his position, rather than strengthening him. Dimmesdale

can evidently be characterized as a coward and false, not only to himself, but to his congregation as well. The fact that he his held above the rest in his community leads him to believe he is a model for those to follow, and he is not able to deal with the fact that he has broken the mold. Dimmesdale is aware that he has to still the voice of his conscience in order to make peace with God and himself, yet fails to do so out of fear and anxiety, thus becoming a “servant of the devil”(220). Due to the high pedestal on which he is placed because of his part in the Puritan community, Dimmesdale is invested with fear, cowardice, and inability to confess his sin, leaving him a powerless and weak man. Hawthorne believes that when society deals out punishment, it is dealing out

God’s punishment. Both the case of Hester and the case of Dimmesdale indicate this view of Hawthorne. In Hester’s case, she confesses her crime, is assigned punishment by society and flourishes. Hester not only accepts society’s punishment, but also individually interprets it, going above and beyond it. By doing this, Hester becomes a servant of God. She abides by the standards of God and takes it upon herself to do good. She believes that she can still reach heaven if she does what she is supposed to. Hester not only takes excellent care of her child, but also reaches out to the community to help even more. She is such a figure in society that they even consider her “our Hester”(111). She is “so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the

afflicted”(111). The scarlet letter, or society’s punishment, has made her a better servant of God than she has ever been. Hester’s life has been redirected, and she was able to select the path of righteousness and appears able to eventually reach salvation, thanks to her abiding by society’s punishment. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, avoids society, and hence avoids God. Dimmesdale never confesses and takes punishment into his own hands. Hawthorne portrays that had Dimmesdale gone to society, or God’s representative on earth, he would have received an appropriate punishment and not suffered. Instead, Dimmesdale struggles to his death, and while he does eventually confess, it is too late, and Dimmesdale dooms himself. We are not sure what happens to Dimmesdale, but had

he chosen society’s punishment over his own, he would have surely been headed towards salvation.