Essay Example on Is it better to confess a sin rather than concealing It

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The novel The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne focuses on how hiding a sin can destroy a person and the people around them In the novel Hester and Dimmesdale commit adultery which results in them bearing a child The townspeople punish Hester by forcing her to wear a letter About Dimmesdale is not punished because he does not confess his sin until he dies In the novel The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne uses the characterization of Dimmesdale to demonstrate that sin and guilt can consume a person physically emotionally and mentally if they do not confess Hawthorne presents a finer image of the way hidden sin and guilt affect a person through Dimmesdale's character Throughout the novel Dimmesdale changes into a coward and a weaker man His guilt becomes too much for him which eventually destroys him Dimmesdale’s health deteriorates because of the way he punishes himself in order to mask his guilt For example Hawthorne illustrates the effect of Dimmesdale's guilt disfiguring him In Mr Dimmesdale's secret closet there was a bloody scourge laughing bitterly at himself the while It was his custom too as it has been that of many other pious Puritans to fast not however like them in order to purify the body and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination but rigorously and until his knees trembled beneath him as an act of penance 



141 Otherwise speaking Dimmesdale's character reveals to be damaged by his ignominy and guilt He laughs at himself because he does not have pity In order to relieve himself from his lack of culpability Dimmesdale believes it is fair to punish himself In addition Dimmesdale starves himself to the point where his knees tremble and cause him to nearly collapse as a way to become free from sin Hawthorne uses characterization to divulge Dimmesdale's inner conflict that includes torturing himself The bloody scourge is used to purify the Dimmesdale's body and to render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination in order for him to break free from his guilt The bloody scourge is Dimmesdale s attempt to purify himself from his sin Not only does he damage his body but he also has visages as a way to satisfy God Because Dimmesdale is suppressing his sin his guilt is consuming him His body becomes weak to the point where it gives up His mind becomes obsessed trying to find a way to alleviate the guilt that is devouring him As demonstrated guilt demolishes the body and mind and can lead a person to desolation If Dimmesdale would have confessed to his sin perhaps his body would not have been dominated by guilt Hawthorne demonstrates guilt having an effect on a person's emotions through Dimmesdale When Hester and her child attend a meeting with the governor in order to decide what will happen to the child Dimmesdale displays emotional effects of his guilt In the meeting Dimmesdale looked now more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the scene of Hester s public ignominy and whether it were his failing health or whatever the cause might be his large dark eyes had a world of pain in their troubled and melancholy depth 110 Evidently Dimmesdale looks unhappy and gaunt because his eyes are expressing a feeling of pensive sadness Dimmesdale s eyes are presenting his inner pain which is bigger than what it was before Hester s public ignominy Hawthorne uses symbolism to reveal the hidden truth behind Dimmesdale's eyes which is also set off by a semicolon Hawthorne uses symbolism to uncover Dimmesdale's guilt hidden behind his eyes 



The inner pain Hawthorne describes in Dimmesdale's eyes is the guilt he is trying to hide Dimmesdale is ashamed for his sin since he has now created an emotional bond with both Hester and their child The description of Dimmesdale s eyes signifies the dark and troubled state he is in Dimmesdale is concealing his sin which is causing a great deal of emotional pain Hawthorne believes that a person's mental state can be greatly damaged by guilt and hidden sin While Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold during the night he presents signs of a weak mentality Without any effort of his will or power to restrain himself he shrieked aloud an outcry that went peeling through the night and reverberated from the hills in the background as if a company of devils detecting so much misery and terror in it 144 145 In other words Dimmesdale is unable to contain himself from crying aloud because of his own misery His cry is an immense sound that can be heard throughout the town Hawthorne uses a simile to compare Dimmesdale s scream to the mental torment he is dealing with Hawthorne uses the simile as if a company of devils to illustrate Dimmesdale's inner demons destroying his mental state because of his guilt Dimmesdale's ability to not being able to contain himself demonstrates that he is unstable because he cannot keep hiding his sin He ascends on the scaffold with the plan on revealing his secret to the town Instead his outcry is heard throughout the town which offers the idea Dimmesdale is not in the right mindset and is suffering mentally


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