In what way were Dimmesdale and Chillingworth victims? Of what?in the book we were using, it had litttle side notes to help readers understand better. So, near the end they said that Dimmesdale and...

In what way were Dimmesdale and Chillingworth victims? Of what?

in the book we were using, it had litttle side notes to help readers understand better. So, near the end they said that Dimmesdale and Chillingworth were both victims. Of what? My guess is puritan religion or puritan society. I really don't know.

Expert Answers
Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dimmesdale and Chillingworth could be considered victims in two areas. First, they were victims of Hester Prynne's self-absorption. In Chillingworth, Hester entered a loveless marriage to which she did not stay true. Her infidelity was a reflection, not on herself alone, but also on her husband. Being a "cuckold" (a husband whose wife has cheated on) was a dishonorable position for that time period. It implicated him in being inadequate as a husband in many ways. There is almost the sense that he brought this unfaithfulness on himself. Thus he can be considered a victim of Hester's infidelity.

Dimmesdale is a victim of Hester's infidelity as well. Dimmesdale is presented as a very weak character. It might be safe to say that Hester was perhaps more aggressive in seduction than was he. Also, Hester has (definitely fairly) plaaced the responsibility of confession on him, even though he pleads with her to identify him as the father of Pearl and thus saving himself form confessing himself. Her refusal to do so has placed him in the position of continuing to conceal his sin in order to retain his standing in the community.

For both, however, they are the victim's of their own pride. Chillingworth, in his hate, has vowed vengeance, slowly but surely on the couple. Dimmesdale's pride prevents him to reveal himself as weak. Both Chillingworth's hate and Dimmesdale's weakness will result in their downfall. To Hawthorne, it is obvious that pride is a much greater sin than adultery.

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Letter

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