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What are the two symbolic images of good and evil that battle over dimmesdales soul?

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aisuhnd99 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 27, 2012 at 8:04 AM via iOS

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What are the two symbolic images of good and evil that battle over dimmesdales soul?

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted December 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM (Answer #1)

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Old Roger Chillingworth becomes a symbol of the evil that torments Dimmesdale all through the book. As Hester's wronged husband, he sets himself up as a kind of avenging figure. He becomes the outward symbol of Dimmesdale's agonized conscience. Chillingworth has been cheated by Dimmesdale and Hester but he is not a very sympathetic character in himself, and becomes even more warped in the sense of his own grievance. He becomes nothing less than malevolent.

Pearl might be regarded as a symbol of good in relation to Dimmesdale. It is true that she is the result of Dimmesdale's adulterous affair but also Dimmesdale and Hester do truly love each other; there is genuine human warmth between them, and this can also act as a force for good. Pearl is also part of this, and at the end when she and her father meet openly for the first and only time, there is a sense of the redemptive power of natural human love.

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