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In Chapter 13 of The Scarlet Letter, why does Hester decide to reveal the secret of...

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orangexhearted | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2009 at 12:15 AM via web

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In Chapter 13 of The Scarlet Letter, why does Hester decide to reveal the secret of Roger Chillingworth's identity to Mr. Dimmesdale?

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 23, 2009 at 6:08 AM (Answer #1)

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Hester decided to reveal Roger Chillingworth's secret identity to Mr. Dimmesdale because, after her private conversation with Dimmesdale (Chapter 12), she could see that he was on the verge of lunacy, unless he had already crossed over the verge already. Chillingworth had made himself indispensable to Dimmesdale and he was always with Dimmesdale; yet Mr. Dimmesdale had no idea of his true identity and his former connection to Hester.

Hester decided that she had a responsibility to Mr. Dimmesdale that necessitated the breaking of her silence and informing him of the truth about Roger Chillingworth. Since Hester knew the past circumstances, she could surmise that something more than and stronger than Dimmesdale's own conscience was at work in his life, reducing him to "childish weakness."

The condition in which she discovered Dimmesdale to be coupled with her own knowledge and sense of responsibility toward him made Hester decide to tell him Roger Chillingworth's secret identity.

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