Concealed Sin in The Scarlet Letter

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Sin is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, "an offense especially against God, fault, or a weakened state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God." Mankind is susceptible to some degree of sin, it is a barrier that can't be avoided. Sin is a question as to what mankind can do in order to achieve salvation from evil ways. However great a sin may appear, it can only strengthen itself by the culprit not owning up to it and taking responsibility for the action. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, possibly the greatest sinner was Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale.

Reverend Dimmesdale is Hester Prynne's secret lover. Hester is whom he shares his sin with, the sin of adultery. Despite Dimmesdale's profession of being a reverend, it appears quite ironic that he commits this sin of adultery. Many times in this book, Hawthorne shows how the adultery sin is frowned upon by so many of the townspeople and society.

Arthur Dimmesdale is a well-known minister in Boston but he is also the father of Pearl which not many people know at all. He is a strenuous man who constantly places his hand over his heart when he is troubled. His health is quite poor, and it is in thanks to Roger Chillingworth's potions that he is able to stay alive. Dimmesdale admits to being Pearl's father at the very end of the novel, and reveals that he has a scarlet letter branded into his chest. He dies up on the scaffold while holding Hester's hand.

For seven long years, Mr. Dimmesdale lacks the courage to admit his guilt of adultery publicly, which puts a lock on his conscience and soul. Arthur's sin is sustained inside of him, rotting in every corner of his body and...