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Asked by Crazyforthis - 4 years ago
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Richard Level 76 / Retired Dentist
Answered 4 years ago
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Dimmesdale feels that God will punish him for his sin and that he need only answer to God for his sin, so he keeps it a secret. Dimmesdale tries to go about life as if nothing has changed, but his guilt weakens him and thrusts him into a downward spiral of misery, ending in death. His guilt eats at him and he is often seen clutching at his heart, as if it pains him. Whenever the topic of sin or Hester was brought up, Dimmesdale would clutch at his chest. His guilt is like a knife being thrust into his heart. In an attempt to free himself of his guilt, Dimmesdale resorts to physically harming himself. "In Mr. Dimmesdale's secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge." He would also starve himself, "until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance."
Dimmesdale resents Hester for her ability to "wear the scarlet letter (a symbol of her sin) openly" while he suffers with his overwhelming guilt. Dimmesdale is rapidly nearing the end. Only when Dimmesdale knows he is doomed does he acknowledge and confess his sin.
Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale as a symbol of Puritanism. He picks out and exaggerates the flaws in Puritanism and makes them Dimmesdale's characteristics.


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From Crazyforthis 4 years ago
The answer was what I was looking for. Thank You.
from Richard 4 years ago
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