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Word Count: 536
We all have secrets that we are not willing to acknowledge even to ourselves This is one of two themes that Nathaniel Hawthorne uses in almost all of his stories The Scarlet Letter is not an exception His other major theme is when the mind and heart are in balance a man is healthy In The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates Dimmesdales tragic flaw as his incompetence to publicly admit the sin of adultery with Hester Prynne This led to Dimmesdales slow demise He was led to this tragic fate by his own cowardice Chillingworths revenge and Hester not telling Dimmesdale that Chillingworth is her husband Dimmesdales cowardice was in not doing the very thing he hypocritically preached For seven years he did not openly confess to sin and then repent because he was too weak of a man This concealed sin was even more severe than his original sin of adultery and was tearing Dimmesdale apart He would punish himself by having nightly vigils in which he tried to purify the body and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination but was always unsuccessful in purifying himself Sometimes he would whip himself and other times he would fast until his knees trembled beneath him as an act of penance Even with all of the self inflicted punishment and anguish Dimmesdale still could not bring himself to confessing As revenge against Dimmesdale for his affair with Hester Chillingworth focussed his entire life around torturing Dimmesdale to a slow death To achieve this goal Chillingworth deceived Dimmesdale into thinking that he was his good friend and doctor All that guilty sorrow hidden from the world whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven to be revealed to him the Pitiless to him the Unforgiving All that dark treasure to be lavished on the very man to whom nothing else could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance This is what Chillingworth laid upon
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