The Minister Who Commits Adultery in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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“And be the stern and sad truth spoken, that the breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired” (158). Arthur Dimmesdale confesses his sin, but it makes such a big impact on him that he will always be reminded of it. The sin leaves a “breach,” or a hole, in him which cannot be fixed. Living in a Puritan community also makes it that much harder for Dimmesdale to keep his secret. Since the religion is completely strict and absolutely prohibits sins like adultery, he has no choice but to feel guilt and regret. The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel of gothic romanticism. It was written in the 1800s, but takes place in the 17th century. Hester Prynne lives in …show more content…
Dimmesdale being a minister does not make confessing the sin any easier. As the novel continues, his appearance takes a complete spin. “His form grew emaciated; his voice,… had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it;…and then a paleness, indicative of pain” (97). One can say that guilt ate away Dimmesdale. He becomes a new person. Arthur Dimmesdale goes from being a young and smart minister to someone who is emaciated, pale, and unhealthy. Arthur Dimmesdale treats himself very harshly since he feels guilty because of the sin he commits with Hester. He whips himself and would “[smite] so much the more pitilessly” (115). Dimmesdale is also starving himself and holding vigils at night. He thinks that this is his punishment and the way in which he is repenting his sin. Dimmesdale even thought that “he had constantly a dim perception of some evil influence watching over him” (112). The guilt and regret he feels is frequently driving him crazy. The Puritans have a tradition to fast once in a while so they can purify themselves of sin and wrongdoings. Contrarily to the Puritans, Dimmesdale has a different meaning of fasting. He fasts “rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him” (115). Dimmesdale is completely torturing and starving himself, which is not the meaning of fasting, especially in the Puritan religion. He even has his own scarlet letter that he wears

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