The Scarlet Letter Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter book cover
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How is Dimmesdale's internal conflict self destructive?  

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The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s internal conflict in The Scarlet Letter stems from his external hypocrisy. He has engaged in a passionate romantic and sexual affair with Hester, conceived a child with her, and then allowed her to suffer alone at the hands of the community.

As a minister, Dimmesdale is supposed to be a paragon of the virtues he espouses from the pulpit. Dimmesdale is just a man who gave into temptation, but he can’t reveal this weakness without sacrificing his reputation and career. Knowing this, Hester refuses to name him as the father of her unborn...

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