Dimmesdale is a self-confessed coward and hypocrite. He knows what he has to do to
still the voice of his conscience and make his peace with God. throughout the entire story
his confession remains an obstacle. While Hester is a relatively constant character,

Dimmesdale is incredibly dynamic. From his fall with Hester, he moves in steps toward
his public hint of sinning at the end of the novel. He tries to unburden himself of his sin
by revealing it to his congregation, but somehow can never quite manage this. He is a
typical diagnosis of a "coward"

To some extent, Dimmesdale’s story is one of a single man tempted into depth of
the hormonal world. This world, however, is a place where the society treats sexuality
with ill grace. His problem is enormously complicated by the fact of Hester’s marriage,
for him, and by his own image of himself as a cleric devoted to higher things. Unlike
other men, Dimmesdale can not accept his loss of innocence and go on from there. He
must struggle futilely to get back to where he was. Torn between the desire to confess
and atone the cowardice which holds him back, Dimmesdale goes slightly mad. He takes
up some morbid forms of penance-fasts and scourgings, but he can neither whip or starve
the sin out of his soul. In his agony, he staggers to the pulpit to confess, but his words
come out generalized and meaningless declarations of guilt. Dimmesdale seems to want
to reveal himself, but Chillingsworht’s influence and his own shame are stronger than his
weak conscience. Dimmesdale can not surrender an identity which brings him love and
admiration of his parishioners . He is too intent to on his earthly image to willingly reveal
his sin. Once Hester explains Chillingsworth’s plans and breaks Chillingsworth’s spell,

Dimmesdale begins to overcome him. He does it, though, in a way which brings him
more earthly glory. Thus, Dimmesdale never loses his cherished image, and
consequently, is pushed down the "oily slope" even further. I think there is a problem
with Dimmesdale, unlike the community. During his struggles to tell the parishioners the
truth, they misunderstand his statements, he loses his faith, which is never completely
regained. Dimmesdale’s sin has eaten away at him, reducing him to a shriveling, pathetic
creature. The only thing that brings him any strength is his re-affirmation of his sin with

Hester, and the plot to escape the town(201): "It was the exhilarating effect-upon a
prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heart of breathing the wild, free
atmosphere of an unrdeemed, un christianized, lawless region". In short, fallen nature has
set him free from his inner distress, but left him in an "unchristianized" world, a heathen
world, damnation. He has fallen into sin. He has, in effect, willingly agreed to commit
more sins. Dimmesdale realizes he is doing this but is too much of a coward to admit his
original sin to the public. He has become a figure that no one can help but himself.

Dimmesdale begins as a fallen man, falls further, and near the end is, according
to Mistress Hibbins, a servant of the devil (242). Hibbin’s words, however not be taken
lightly. She seems to be the only character that shows herself to have a mouth of truth.

Dimmesdale attempts to recover, though, with a massive effort, when he ascends the
scaffold with Hester and Pearl. When Chillingsworth exclaims, "thou hast escaped me!"
(256), he is speaking not only for himself , but for evil. Dimesdale has at least escaped
damnation. He makes another small step forward when Pearl kisses him. "A spell was
broken"(256). The redeeming angel has pulled Dimesdale clear of the shadow of sin but
not away from its presence. After the kiss, Dimmesdale returns to speaking of God as
merciful, and returns to praising him. He claims, "Had either of these agonies ("Burning
torture upon his breast" and Chillingsworth’s influence) been waiting, I had been lost
forever" (257). Dimmesdale believes himself to be saved. On the contrary, I think that his
attempt to confess was not a complete confession at all. He never truly stater that he had
committed adultery with Hester, and that Pearl in fact is his doughter. Dimmesdale, the
reverend could bring them up to the scaffold, but still did not have the courage to
honestly confess. The sermon in which there was supposed to be a "Nobel climax," was
empty of such a thing. An incomplete confession is a useless one to the people of