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How do Hester and Dimmesdale handle their guilt in contrast to one another?What is...

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tessa2011 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:10 AM via web

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How do Hester and Dimmesdale handle their guilt in contrast to one another?

What is their progression from the initial sin through the end of the book? How do their characters change? How do they grow or self destruct as people as the novel progresses?

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iklan100 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:53 AM (Answer #1)

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In 'The Scarlet Letter' the whole story revolves around the adulterous relation between Hester and Dimmesdale; and a great deal of literary criticism and analyses exists that can be read/studied with profit , to understand the 'progression' (or 'regression') of both characters. However, in simple terms, we could state pointwise that:

1. Hester remains staunch and brave throughout her trial and condemnation and submits passively to her punishment. Yet at no time does she deny that she had a relationship of an adulterous nature. On the other hand, Dimmesdale from the start is out to hide his 'sin' and to maintain his position in society and people's good opinion/s, and reflcts a hypocrtical attitude.


2. As time goes by, Hester is seen to emerge as a stronger, self-reliant and mature person, by virtue of her acceptance of her crime/sin and by contrast Dimmesdale is seen as getting weaker and demoralised, a loathsome person with no real strength of character.

I think that you should be able to build a good asignment/snwer around these basic parameters with reference to the text itself.

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