The Scarlet Letter Essay
To make a decision, one weighs the benefits and the downfalls and concludes by judging the factors of both options. One's choice to conform to society's demands or submit to personal choice is difficult. Throughout the Scarlet Letter the story is told about two individuals who make a personal choice that is condemned as a sin. Which causes Arthur Dimmesdale to realize how much guilt and shame can be caused by keeping something to yourself, especially in a Puritan society.
Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the town’s beloved minister, is the last person society would expect to break the Ten Commandments. But while Hester Prynn goes through four years of public shame after having a baby and being tried for adultery; Dimmesdale lives his life like a saint in society, by keeping his sin to himself. He knows how much society frowns upon the mistake Hester and himself have made and is not brave enough to give up his place within society.
However, the longer Hester’s punishment goes on the more the reader notices Dimmesdale’s shame and guilt growing. When Hester is punished and asked to tell who the father is of her baby in front of the council men the guilt is first seen. Later it is noted that Dimmesdale’s body was starting to deteriorate because of it. “He looked now more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the scene of Hester’s public ignominy” (83).
More of Dimmesdale’s guilt is portrayed through seeing Pearl grow up and him not being there. When Hester and Pearl enter the governs hall and Dimmesdale tries to be very kind to little Pearl it is even harder for Dimmesdale, as he knows he is not being the father he is supposed to be. The guilt is especially found when he hears his brethren talk about Hester’s partner and Pearl’s missing father.
Another time Dimmesdale realizes how much society affects the individual is when his “trusted friend” Chillingworth is talking to Dimmesdale about guilt and shame and the reverend...