In Chapter 11 of "The Crucible", what is ironic about Dimmesdale's incredible success as a minister?  

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Dimmesdale is a serious sinner and would be pilloried if the townsfolk knew about his sinful trysts with Hester Prynne in the woods.

Hester Prynne is jailed and publicly humiliated for her adultry, but her partner in crime is none other than the Reverend Dimmesdale who she will not implicated in her crime.

His success is ironic because Hester bears his child and is an outcast from the community as a result of her honesty. In many ways, she is a better example of true humility and christianity than the preacher.

Not improbably, it was to this latter class of ms that Mr. Dimmesdale, by many of his traits of character, naturally belonged. To the high mountain peaks of faith and sanctity he would have climbed, had not the tendency been thwarted by the burden, whatever it might be, of crime or anguish, beneath which it was his doom to totter. It kept him down on a level with the lowest; him, the man of ethereal attributes, whose voice the angels might else have listened to and answered! But this very burden it was that gave him sympathies so intimate with the sinful brotherhood of mankind; so that his heart vibrated in unison with theirs, and received their pain into itself and sent its own throb of pain through a thousand other hearts, in gushes of sad, persuasive eloquence. Oftenest persuasive, but sometimes terrible! The people knew not the power that moved them thus. They deemed the young clergyman a miracle of holiness. They fancied him the mouth-piece of Heaven's messages of wisdom, and rebuke, and love. In their eyes, the very ground on which he trod was sanctified.

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