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Dimmesdale and Guilt The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the most well known novels of the romantic writing era It is a fascinating story about human frailty and its attempt to redeem itself Set in Boston the story involves a woman Hester Prynne who has a child by another man after Indians abduct her husband She is made to stand on a scaffold with the entire town watching while she wears an A on her breast for her great sin of adultery Hesters husband Roger Chillingworth torments the illegitimate childs father Arthur Dimmesdale during the course of the story as his need for vengeance increases Throughout The Scarlet Letter Dimmesdale attempts to atone for his sin by making his own kind of confessions but without a confession like Hesters his guilt remains a debilitating factor in his life Dimmesdales guilt about his and Hesters sin causes him to try to redeem himself in many ways that do not involve an actual confession For instance he is too afraid in the beginning to tell of his sin so he tries to put the burden onto Hester when he says Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him for believe me Hester though he were to step down from a high place and stand there beside thee on they pedestal of shame yet better were it so than to hide a guilty heart through life What can thy silence do for him except it tempt him yea compel him as it were to add hypocrisy to sin 47 To the town it simply appears as if the minister wants to know the identity of Hesters fellow sinner so that he can be punished as well However from another point of view Dimmesdale is speaking literally He wants Hester to tell the people that he is the childs father so that his guilt will be gone While Dimmesdale and Chillingworth
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