What would be the argument against or in favor for the following statement: Dimmesdale is actually an angel in The Scarlet Letter.

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is hardly an argument that Dimmesdale would be deemed as an angel in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter , since his actions demonstrate that he is anything but a man of his word, a man of the cloth, nor a man worthy of Hester and Pearl. What we can certainly argue is that Dimmesdale may be of the false believe that the position that he has been bestowed upon by an ignorant and easily-led society gives him automatic entry to heaven and the right to preach without practice. In the end, we find that the true angel might be Hester, who is the bearer of all the guilt and insult that is equally granted to Dimmesdale.

Dimmesdale is a young preacher whose charisma, presumably good looks, and education, get him to the top of the chain of command of his village. That is really all that is great about Dimmesdale. He is not a Holy man, for he commits fornication with Hester. He is not honest because he has the gall to stand at the scaffold and point at Hester for her sin (which he helps her commit). He is not authentic for he continues to lead a flock pretending to be holy and free of sin. He is not even courageous enough to come forward and tell the truth from the start. Similarly, he is not strong enough to abide by his word and elope with Hester to move away from the hypocrisy of the settlement's society. Dimmesdale is just a shell of a man, he is not a real man in the true sense of the word.

Therefore, Dimmesdale is NOT an angel nor does he even come close. He lies by hiding truths, and he allows another person to carry his burden. The carved letter on his chest is just a symptom of his deep guilt, which is only natural to occur when someone does something truly hideous. All that Dimmesdale is, is a fantasy of his own circumstances: Of people who are ignorant and hypocritical, and of his own ego that has presumably gone out of his control.  

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Letter

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question