The Reverend Dimmesdale is central to Hawthorne's novel, exemplifying the moral stated in Chapter XXIV:
"Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!"
The minister's "miserable experience" emanates from his weakness, secret sin, and his hypocrisy. For, like Raskolnikov of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Dimmesdale suffers much mental anguish, moral dilemmas, and tortuous guilt. But, because of the stern Puritan code which would bring him disgrace, the minister cannot bring himself to confess his sin despite knowing Hester should not be alone in her punishment. In Chapter III, as Hester stands on the scaffold, Reverend Mr. Wilson calls upon Rev. Dimmesdale to plead with her to reveal her partner in sin; the minister does so as looks into Hester's eyes, asking her in a voice...tremulously sweet, rich, deep, and broken"; he concludes,
"Take heed how thou deniest to him--who, perchance, hath not the courage...
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