What are some quotes from The Scarlet Letter about how the Rev. Dimmesdale is perceived as a good person in the community and viewed by everyone until the end of course. Also, what are some quotes...

What are some quotes from The Scarlet Letter about how the Rev. Dimmesdale is perceived as a good person in the community and viewed by everyone until the end of course. Also, what are some quotes about Dimmesdale's
A" and some passages/lines on how he dies for his sin. 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is an ironic beginning that finds the lonely Hester Prynne imprisoned behind the formidable door of Puritan justice and the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale among the observers. As the stranger inquires about the woman on the scaffold of shame, a townsman replies,

"You must needs be a stranger in this region, friend....else you would surely have hear of Mistress Hester Prynne and her evil doings. She haith raised a great scandal, I promise you, in godly Master Dimmesdale's church. (Ch.3)

When Hester is summoned to Governor Bellingham's Hall to be questioned and to question little Pearl, Pearl refuses to cite her catechism and leads old Reverend Wilson to believe that she has failed in her motherly duties. So, the Governor decides that Pearl should be taken from Hester. Naturally, this greatly distresses Hester, so Dimmesdale speaks up for her, saying that he concurs with Hester that God has given her this child to remind her of her sin, for Pearl is her sin incarnate, her personal scarlet letter. Reverend Dimmesdale speaks up for her further, saying that there is

a quality of awful sacredness in the relation between this mother and this child....it is good for this poor, sinful woman that she hath an infant...to be trained up by her to righteousness,--to remind her, at every moment, of her fall--- (Ch.8)

The Reverend Wilson is moved, asking,"Hath he not pleaded well for the poor woman," he asks the Governor. (Ch.8)

Hester's husband takes up residence with the Reverend Dimmesdale under the nomenclature of Roger Chillingworth, having chosen the

young divine, whose scholar-like renown still lived in Oxford, was considered by his more fervent admirers as little less than a heavenly ordained apostle, destined, should he live and labor for the ordinary term of life...(Ch.9)

Chillingworth has many an intimate talk with the minister, but one night as Dimmesdale sleeps, the physican comes into his room. Observing what a deep sleep the minister is in, Chillingworth pushes the minister's vestment aside, wondering why he has been holding his heart. When he sees the mark 'the A] on Dimmesdale's chest, " the physician's ectasy from Statan's was the trait of wonder in it." (Ch.10)

this secret sin tortures the minister, who takes to self-flagellation in his effort to purge himself of sin. When he tries to tell his congregation that he is unworthy of their respect, there is a sensed unity with the minster that the  worshippers feel. "The people knew not the power that moved them thus." (Ch. 11) Still, he longs to confess: " I , your pastor, whom you so reverence and trust, am utterly a pollution and a lie." Butt, he cannot. (Ch.11)

One night, Hester Prynne passes by the scaffold and finds the minister standing on it. She and Pearl stand with him; however Chillingworth comes to take him back. But, Hester meets the minister in the forest where they have privacy, and he confesses to Hester that he is miserable.

"Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret!" (Ch.17)

In time Dimmesdale begins to feel tortured. 

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face tohimself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.(Ch. 20)

Finally, on Election Day, after seven years, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale stands before the townspeople and confesses. having Hester and Pearl stand with him upon the scaffold, Dimmesdale confesses that the scarlet letter has been on him:

"He tells you, ...his own red stigma is no more than the type of what has seared his inmost heart!....Behold a dreadful witness of it!" (Ch. 23)

After confessing, Dimmesdale collapses. 

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Letter

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