Some of the most beautiful things that humans are capable of making are bridges. Bridges connect us with others of our kind mentally and physically and showcase the need for humans to contact each other and connect. Dimmesdale as a human needs bridges, but is having a very hard time building them. Dimmesdale cannot connect to anyone. He keeps his flock at bay through his sermons and alienates Hester and Pearl by not claiming them in public. He even lacks a bridge to his own soul and desires.
The significance of the incidents that Dimmesdale goes through in terms of the plot and character development respectively is that they are part of the rising action and the show that Dimmesdale is becoming even more confused. The encounters Dimmesdale has on his way through the town are important because they are basically the end of the rising action. They help to show that Dimmesdale is no longer sure of how to communicate with others. Dimmesdale can no longer think of acceptable ways to express his feelings. He feels that the only bridge into normality is his ministry.
As a minister, Dimmesdale is supposed to help people and show them how to live. It’s ironic then that all he wants to do is hurt and disturb the people he meets. It’s also ironic that he can’t live his own life happily. He feels that he cannot lead people to do God’s will, when he has sinned. The only reason he still tries is because he is scared to confess his sin, and he hopes that God will still forgive him. When he finally decides to confess once and for all it shows that Dimmesdale is now a dynamic character as opposed to static character he had been the entire book.
Dimmesdale has been falling deeper and deeper into depression and has now hit rock bottom; therefore, the climax must be near. As for character development, each of the people that Dimmesdale encounters represents a part of himself that he is also rebelling against. Dimmesdale is stopped by one of his deacons. The deacon represents the respectability and wisdom that the townspeople think he has. He wants to destroy that because he knows that if they knew about his sin they would not feel that way. The deacon is also respectable and wise in his own right.
Dimmesdale feels compelled to discredit himself with blasphemy because he can’t handle the pressure of being so respectable because of something he is not completely ok with. The old woman that Dimmesdale talks to is a woman whose husband and children and friends have all died. She attends Dimmesdale’s church and trusts him to lead her along the right path so that she can meet her loved ones again in Heaven. Dimmesdale’s malicious thoughts about telling this sad, elderly woman that the souls of her loved ones are just gone, contrary to what she has believed in for comfort all her life, are to destroy the trust she has in him.
He wants to do this because he feels like he doesn’t deserve the people’s trust. When Dimmesdale almost encounters the young girl, he is struggling against innocence. Dimmesdale has lots of young and innocent people gathered in his congregation. Because he lost his innocence when he committed his sin, he wants to destroy the innocence of others. He passes by the girl without stopping because he knows that he won’t be able to control himself. The fourth event also deals with the idea of innocence. When Dimmesdale see a group of small children, he wants to teach them bad words.
He knows that those words will distress others and that the children will become vessels for the evil that he feels inside of him. In conclusion humans naturally build bridges of companionship and community. When someone is going through so much inner turmoil that they can no longer build those bridges, the people themselves break. Soon that will happen to Dimmesdale. He can no longer connect to himself, much less other people. Instead of reaching out to others, he hides his sin within himself and wants to push others away by any means possible.