Nathaniel Hawthornes book, The Scarlet Letter, uses physical appearance tomirror a characters physiological or spiritual state. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale,whom the reader may remember as having taken a brief part in the scene of HesterPrynnes disgrace, is a complex character. The young minister, whose healthhad severely suffered, of late, by his too unreserved self-sacrifice to thelabors and duties of the pastoral relation. Hawthorne is making the readeraware of Mr.
Dimmesdale leaving them to ask themselves why he is getting sick.Is it because he has some hidden guilt or sin? Dimmesdale is sick because of theunknown truth between him and Hester Prynne, which leads up to Hester Prynnesdaughter Pearl, the scarlet vision. Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf,stole, softly towards him, and, taking his hand in the grasp of both her own,laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender . . .
little Pearls unwantedmood of sentiment last no longer; she laughed, and went capering down thehall. Pearl, not known to be kind to anyone except her mother, laid her cheekon Reverend Dimmesdales hand to show there is a connection between Dimmesdaleand little Pearl. Furthermore, old Roger Chillingworth is an important characterto the story. Hester Prynne . .
. perceived what change had come over hisfeatures, – how much uglier they were, – how his dark complexion seemed to havegrown duskier, and his figure more misshapen, – since the days she hadfamiliarly known him. Roger Chillingworth is looking to seek out whom Hesterhad slept with. He loved her and the pain of not knowing who committed thiscrime with her was eating at his soul and tearing away his physical appearance.There are hints that the author leaves to let us think about each individualcharacter and the hidden meanings behind them.English Essays