Pretending to be somebody else, by acting like them, in order to fit in or be popular is something that most people have done in their lives; however, this has always come back to bite them in the end. Similarly to how Dimmesdale did not show his true feelings and emotions in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, instead of letting people see what he was really feeling. This inner anguish is what made Dimmesdale so sickly and made the town believe he was ill and dying, when he was actually just feeling guilt for not owning up to his sin of adultery with Hester.
Therefore, Dimmesdale’s outward conformity to he town’s values and beliefs while withholding his own values and beliefs led to his inevitable death proving that not being who you truly are will only hurt you in the end. As a man of the church, Dimmesdale spends his life supporting the will of God, but one fatal mistake may have taken all he has done for the Lord mean nothing. That one fatal mistake was committing the sin of adultery and having a child out of sin with Hester Prynne, and not claiming his sin but denying that Pearl is his child in order to keep his position of power within the community.
So Dimmesdale is questioning his own actions which cause a reater turmoil inside of him that does little to help his situation. After spending time with Hester and Pearl in the forest the minister questions if they are leading him into sin by signing “a contract in the forest [… ] with [his] blood? And does he now summon [Dimmesdale] to its fulfilment, by suggesting the performance of every wickedness which his most foul imagination can conceive? ” (Hawthorne 210). Dimmesdale now believes that the devil himself will force him to commit more acts of sin because he is accepting the sin that has plagued him for seven years.
So in public he decides to not acknowledge hem, which aggravates Pearl that “in the dark nighttime he calls us to him, and holds thy hand and mine [.. ] And he kisses my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But here, in the sunny day, and among all the people,he knows us not,” in order to keep his sin hidden from the people (Hawthorne 218). His repeating betrayal towards Hester and Pearl distribute a characteristic of weakness for the clergyman.
He questions himself and the actions he takes causing the minister to feel uncertain about what the right course of action is to in order to appeal for his sin and be right with God again. The weakness in Dimmesdale takes hold of his and makes him scared to take any action about his sin publicly, because of the reputation it would make for himself. Will the actions he take be for good and help him repent for the atrocity of his sin, or will the drive him deeper into the depths of hell where sin is glorified and welcomed?
A man needs to stand up and do what he believes is right, take responsibility for what he’s done, and be with the ones he loves and cares about. Not cower and hide in the shadows while fear takes over and controls them. All of the self doubt exhibited in Dimmesdale causes him to realize a arsh truth; if you are not true to yourself, then you’re nobody at all. As his lie grows so does Dimmesdale’s inner turmoil of pretending to be someone he is not.
By keeping his sin deep down inside, Dimmesdale is not only being untrue to the people he interacts with, but he is also being untrue to himself. To the untrue man, the whole universe is false-it is impalpable-it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself, in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist,” where as the true man is confident as to where e stands in the universe, and will be bathed in the glorious light of life (Hawthorne 137). Being true to yourself will not only allow a person to become their own person, but it also allows that person to be sure of the role they have in life.
Therefore being honest and true has only positive effects, while being untrue leads someone to having self-doubt, fear, and ultimately losing the person that they once were. In Dimmesdale’s case, he is doubting all of his actions and is slowly letting his own personality slip and be lost forever, he must come clean to save the real Arthur Dimmesdale and become himself again. Confessing his sin is the only way, which Dimmesdale does in order to become his own self for Pearl at least once. “May God forgive thee! ‘ said the minister. Thou too, hast deeply sinned! … ] dear little Pearl, wilt thou kiss me now? ” As a changed man, one who now will not hide his sin (Hawthorne 242).
On his deathbed Dimmesdale finally confesses his sin and turns to his daughter that he has pretended doesn’t exist, and he asks for a kiss from her-father to daughter-as the real Arthur Dimmesdale. Finally happy, because the man had been true to himself and others and not continuing a horrid lie. Proving that being truthful will have only positive effects from it, while being untrue will only wreak havoc and chaos in a person’s life.
While being untrue does not only damage one’s mental and emotional health, but takes a toll of a person’s physical health as well. Keeping his secret had been very hard for Dimmesdale and put much strain on him mentally so he neglects his health. As this continued “the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently begun to fail. [.. ] [he] avowed his belief that if Providence should see fit to remove him, it would be because of his own unworthiness to erform its humblest mission here on Earth,” is what the man says to try and ease his concerns about the sin he hides (Hawthorne 113).
The enormous amount of stress that an untrue man puts upon himself causes him to neglect his other needs, such as physical health, because they are only thinking about the lie they hide. The hidden lie continues to cause harm to whomever harbers it whether it be a mental turmoil in which the person questions every action they take, losing their originally personality, or becoming physically unable to continue their stressful life. Conforming is never a good idea in order to fit n, keep a position of power, or for any other reason; because to conform you are pretending to be a person that is not you.
This could easily lead to inwardly question what you do by not saying what you truly believe and be the person that is actually the real you. Therefore this conformity will not bring a person any good, but only harsh effects that will hinder a person’s life. If you were holding a lie inside that ended up causing you or the people around you harm. Would you continue to keep it deep inside or let it out? Even if it meant you losing power and ruining your reputation?