Detrimental Ef Essay, Research Paper
An Explanation of the Basis for the Detrimental Effect of Hester s Advice on Dimmesdale After committing the sin of adultery, Dimmesdale s physical and mental condition begins to deteriorate. When Hester asks him to run away from the situation they are in, he begins the final descent to his demise. Initially, the idea lifts his spirits. Eventually he feels compelled to confess when he realizes that the act of fleeing demonstrates his own moral weakness and compounds of his sins. Hester s advice acts as a catalyst to propel him from a state of self-loathing into a state of self-destruction. This destruction also serves as his only means of moral salvation. In the initial chapters of Hawthorne’s book, the author characterizes Dimmesdale as a “young clergyman . . . A person of very striking aspect.”. After years of covering his sin, the deception clearly takes its toll upon him. The once young minister visibly deteriorates into a “weak . . . pale . . . corpse-like” man suffering from the sin that he feels he can not confess. This deterioration in health affects not only his body but his mind and morality. On his return trip from the forest, Dimmesdale finds himself feelings evil and sinful impulses. He feels tempted to stop and teach the little ones “wicked words”, he has an impure thought about a young female member of his congregation, and he has to restrain himself from saying things about the “vile communion supper.” Dimmesdale’s acceptance of Hester’s advice demonstrates his natural tendency to sin. His sin of adultery, although evil in nature, becomes compounded by his deceit and attempts to escape punishment for his actions. By attempting to hide his sins, Dimmesdale’s troubled conscience begins to destroy him from the inside out. His moral deterioration begins the instant he accepts Hester s advice to run away from their responsibility and attempts to cover their sin. By shunning his responsibility and using deceit, Dimmesdale compounds his dilemma. His acceptance of Hester s advice gives him temporary relief to his long suffering. Instead of facing his sin, Dimmesdale shirks his responsibilities and discovers a sense of relief. This sense of relief crushes the remaining portion of his morality but strangely invigorates him. Hawthorn shows Dimmesdale’s new passion by the manner in which he writes his new sermon. Dimmesdale writes it in a mad frenzy; full of passion, logic, and brilliance that he never had before. His agreement to run away and live a “life of sin” with his lover provides him with a sense of relief.
Dimmesdale realizes that running away indicates the total erosion of his morality and as a priest feels the need to confess his sins and repent. The reader could attribute Dimmesdale s confession as the act of a magnanimous, unselfish man. This sole act prevents further sin by himself and the other characters from occurring. By confessing he eliminates the need to run away and live in sin with Hester. This act prevents him from committing further sins of adultery, deceit, and abandonment of responsibility by destroying his life. It also prevents others from sinning against Hester by depriving Chillingsworth of his sole motivation in life, revenge. His act of confession purifies himself and the sinners around him, while soiling the people’s perception of him. Dimmesdale commits his confession as a necessary act of repentance in order to find true relief. After delivering the horrid confession to the towns people, he falls to his death, ready to embrace his God. In the confession itself, Dimmesdale says that he is “one in the midst of you, at whose brand of sin and infamy ye have not shuddered.” He believes that no one else in the town could ever commit such an abominable act of sin and thus no one in the town will ever have to bear its infamy. Dimmesdale believes that his sin therefore surpasses any sinful acts of the townspeople. Until his confession a guilty conscience consumes Dimmesdale, it deteriorates his mental and physical well-being. By committing the act of adultery, hiding it, and then compounding that secret by contemplating running away from his responsibilities, Dimmesdale’s internal torment comes to a head. He realizes that he has fallen to Hester’s corruption and that his only escape can come from confession, so that he may finally repent for his sin. By accepting Hester Prynne s advice to escape their problems by running away, the minister, Arthur Dimmesdale figuratively signs his soul over to the devil. He condemns himself to becoming a child of evil and wanders away from the grace of God. His personal morality as a priest and an individual of conscience does not allow him to take the path that he believes to be that of the sinner. His morality makes him confess his sins to cleanse his soul before his inevitable demise. By heeding Hester s advice and thereby embracing sin, Dimmesdale’s only true repentance is death.