I find Arthur Dimmesdale to be the most interesting character in The Scarlet Letter. He is a priest, he is a holy figure, yet he is hiding a sin from everyone, and it is eating him up inside. He also preaches about how it is bad.
Hester’s husband, Chillingworth is also hurting him by always being there and trying to pick into Mr. Dimmesdale’s heart and find out the secret, which he already knows. He is just doing it as a revenge for Mr. Dimmesdale and Hester.
Pearl keeps on mentioning that Dimmesdale keeps holding his hand over his heart. When Hester asks Pearl if she knows why her mother wears the”A”, Pearl says, “For the same reason the minister holds his hand over his heart.” Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, says that he is there to help heal Reverend Dimmesdale, which in fact he really isn’t. He says that some men hide their secrets, and if he told him what his secrets were then his illness would be cured. Mr. Dimmesdale then says that he will tell no man of his sin and that Roger should not get between God and himself.
Mr. Dimmesdale is also a coward. When Pearl, Hester, and Arthur are alone together and it is time to leave, Pearl asks him if he would stand up on the scaffold with them the next day, and later, she asks if he will go hand and hand with them out of the forest, and he replies that only on judgment day they will go hand in hand together. He is so afraid that if anyone finds out about his sin, he will be destroyed because he is a “holy” man. If anyone found out, then they would look down on him and he would be shunned like Hester. When the three of them were on the scaffold together and he told God of his sin, he felt better the next day because he got the sin off his chest, but not the letter though, even though he didn’t tell anyone.
Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale decide to move to another country and start a new life. This is Dimmesdale’s way of avoiding and getting away from his sin. On the last day of his life, the day before they are to leave, Dimmesdale is to walk in a parade and then give an election sermon. He knows that his health is fading, so he writes the best sermon of his life. While walking in the parade, Arthur looks like he is a new man and that it is the best day of his life. After saying the shocking sermon, the thin thread that held him up for so long finally broke. While everyone was amazed at his sermon, he calls out to Hester and Pearland has them come up on the scaffold with him. On the scaffold, he tells everyone of his sin and shows everyone his scarlet letter that was embedded in his chest. After having confessed his sin and finally got it off his chest, he can die a free man. On spot he collapses into Hester’s arms he says “Isn’tthis better than what we planned in the forest? After that, he takes one last breath and dies. The people that witnessed Mr. Dimmesdale’s confession were shocked and stunned. He had a great impact on the crowd as many people realized that everyone sins, even a “holy” minister.
I believe that Mr. Dimmesdale was a coward and that from his hiding from his sin, behind his holiness, made his body weak. The cause of his death was not from just the fact that his body was becoming weaker, it was mostly from the pain of his secret. I think that he is very ignorant also because he let the guilt and secret, instead of becoming a strong man and admitting to his wrongdoings and go after his love, Hester. He caused the pain on himself.