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This part of the novel can be found in the chapter entitled "The Minister in a Maze," and is based around a description of Dimmesdale as he returns to town after his conversation with Hester where they plan to flee together. However, Dimmesdale strangely finds himself changed by this conversation:
At every step he was incited to do some strange, wild, wicked thing or other, with a sense that it would be at once involuntary and intentional...
He comes across a deacon in the church and has to restrain himself from blaspheming. He meets the eldest woman in the church and finds that he cannot remember a single piece of scripture to share with her. He comes across a young virgin from the church and is tempted to corrupt her. Lastly he meets Mistress Hibbins who sees in him a fellow agent of evil. Such events cause Dimmesdale to question the rightness of his planned escape with Hester.
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