It’s all Dimmesdale’s fault In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, many of the characters are looked upon as sinners. Sinners are people who go against the bible, God’s word. In actuality every character is a sinner someway and somehow. After reading the book, there is one character that sticks out to be the biggest sinner of all. That is Dimmesdale. Although all characters are sinners, Dimmesdale committed the greater sin for impregnating Hester Pryne. Dimmesdale is the pope of the town.
He gives sermons in the church, he preaches, he leads people to follow the word of God.
One of the major sins in the book of the bible is adultery. Adultery also includes another person who is committed in marriage, Mrs. Pryne. Even though Hester’s spouse leaves, she is technically still married. Hester’s spouse left her abandoned in search for something new. She committed adultery herself which is what she gets punished for. The fact that Dimmesdale thought of being with Hester is already sinning.
Dimmesdale is supposed to be a leader of the church. Being a leader, you follow the word of God, and believe in what you preach.
For Dimmesdale to know that Adultery is in the book of the bible as a sin, he still commits it. The author goes to explain how Dimmesdale sins against his own religion, “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. ” (Hawthorne). Dimmesdale knew what he was getting involved and exactly how he was committing a sin. He is more than guilty for committing adultery which is the sad truth. Being a part of the church and a leader of the church, you are held to high standards and you should be able to reach those standards.
I believe Dimmesdale is the greater sinner because he knew what he was doing, he is a wise guy, but yet he still continued to pursue Hester Pryne without hesitation. Not only did they commit adultery, but shortly after there is an announcement that Hester then becomes pregnant. There is only way for Hester to become pregnant after she is left behind by her husband. In the beginning of the novel, Hester has a child and her name is Pearl. Now, how does Hester have a new born child if her husband abandoned her two years ago? There has to be a third person involved with Hester.
The book talks about Hester Pryne and her life as she goes on with this punishment. The reason the book was ever written was to focus in on Hester’s life living with punishment. Her punishment comes from Dimmesdale. He is the father of Pearl. He not only sins against the church and God, but brings sin into Hester and Pearl’s life as well. After Dimmesdale sins, he just brought sin upon everyone. Dimmesdale and Hester discuss about their past, “Is not this better,” murmured he, “than what we dreamed of in the forest? “
“I know not! I know not! ” she hurriedly replied. Better? Yea; so we may both die, and little Pearl die with us! ” (Hawthorne). Hester is left with all the blame, both of them should have confessed publicly what they have done. Anyone in contact with Dimmesdale, tends to sin as well. For example, when Chillingworth comes back into town, all he wants is to know Dimmesdale’s secret. His secret which was that he was Pearl’s father and Chillingworth was Hester’s horrible spouse. Dimmesdale then causes Chillingworth to sin and bring all of his focus onto himself rather than God. Dimmesdale is a walking sin.
Anything he touches, talks to, or interacts with begins to sin as well. Dimmesdale is by far the greater sinner throughout the book because he is the root of all the problems. The reason other characters sin are because of Dimmesdale’s sins which are brought onto everybody else as well. The greatest sin that Dimmesdale committed throughout the story, is the sin he has done to himself. He knew exactly what he was getting into and yet he still did it. I believe the worse sin is knowing exactly how and when you are sinning, but not confessing.
Dimmesdale knew he was involved in adultery with Hester. Somehow only Hester got the punishment for adultery. Since Dimmesdale easily sinned against himself and his beliefs, it is hard to watch your partner go through the punishment while you watch. He stood by the jail and saw Hester walk out in front of the town, while people just stared at her disgusted. God tells us that we should confess our sins so that we can repent and be cleansed from them. Dimmesdale did not do any of these steps. He kept the secrets, guilt, shame, and punishment all to himself.
All of these emotions and feelings could have been easily given to God to repent, but he bottles it up inside him. Dimmesdale’s guilt just eats at 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, and fling it off at once! ” (Hawthorne). He hides how he really feels, his secret adultery with Hester, and acts like everything is okay.
Being a preacher, there should be extra pressure on yourself knowing what you did wrong. He brings sin upon other people that then puts more weight onto his shoulders. Dimmesdale should have just let all of his feelings and worries away to God. Put his sins in the hands of God and trust that he will take care of it. When you keep it locked up is when you get bitter. Then you start to sin against God even more by not trusting the Lord knowing that He will make everything okay. All this guilt and pressure that was put onto Dimmesdale resulted in his death.
Everything that he kept bottled up inside of him, ate him up internally. It was not for the good. His sins laid inside his heart and just took over his body. This sin that was brought upon himself was not for the better. Now Pearl grows up without a father. Hester is left as a single parent. His locked away sin just brings greater struggles and sin into other people’s life he had an impact on. Dimmesdale seemed like an honest, caring, and loving man at the beginning of the story. As the story continued on, his personality and worries came to show through his dialogue.
Hawthorne did a great job showing how Dimmesdale’s sin had brought such a burden on his life. All of Dimmesdale’s sin is greater than any other character because he is the core of sin. He is the seed and root of every other character who started to sin against God. Without Dimmesdale in the picture, this story would not be the greatest. His sin affected everyone around him, therefore he is the biggest sinner of all. Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Scarlet Letter. ” Gutenberg. org. Dartmouth College, Feb. 1992. Web. .
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