"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Essay by webryder86High School, 11th gradeA-, April 2003

download word file, 2 pages 4.0

Arthur Dimmesdale, in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a character whose mind is torn between two desires. The quarrel between Arthur Dimmesdale's sense of duty and passion for his lover creates two compelling forces that drive him to the brink of insanity and a dismal death. As a result of showing the anguish that Arthur must go through while making his decision between his two desires and comparing it the relief he found as he confessed his sin the author helps elucidate the theme of the novel ,that is unconfessed sin destroys the soul.

Arthur Dimmesdale has a strong sense of duty and obligation to the Puritan community. He knows too well how the congregation thinks he was almost a "heavenly figure" and look up to him as the embodiment of righteousness and rectitude. The puritans think of him with high admiration, "In their eyes, the very ground on which he trod was sanctified" (pg.

139). It was for this reason Dimmesdale could not disregard the puritan's feelings for him, for if he did he would betray his congregation and reveal himself as a hypocrite. This desire kept Dimmesdale from revealing his sin, and thus tearing his mind into two.

The other desire that Dimmesdale craved for is to openly love Hester. It is evident that Dimmesdale loves Hester a great deal for they have gone against their community and committed this grave sin. Dimmesdale does not want to confine his love to himself and yearns to openly love Hester. Dimmesdale tries to indulge his desire by trying to confess his feelings openly in the second scaffold scene, "Ye both have been here before, but I was not with you. Come up hither once again, and we will stand all three together!"(pg. 149). Here...