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The Scarlet Notice | Character Analysis

Dimmesdale is the key male identity in the world famous novel The Scarlet Letter, which is the masterpiece of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Although Dimmesdale commits adultery, it is not until the final area of the book that he confesses his criminal offense. From the time he commits adultery to enough time he confesses his offense, everyday, he's tortured emotionally. The conflicts of superego and id are best manifested in Dimmesdale. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal situation of Arthur Dimmesdale predicated on Freud's mental theory, especially the idea of id, ego and superego.

Illustration of Identification, Ego and Superego

Freud is a famous psychologist, whose theory of mindset is a great contribution to the research of literature. According to Freud, the mental procedures can be assigned to three psychic areas: the id, the ego, and the superego.

The id as identified by Freud is similar in many respects to the Devil as identified by theologians. Therefore, it is can be seen from this definition that the id is really as dark as Devil. It's the dark facet of human mother nature that can't be touched by others. What's the id? Identification, in short, is what folks want. It is people's desire of all kinds-desire for electric power, for making love, for amusement, once and for all. But this is only one aspect of id. Every one wants these exact things. There is no-one on the planet who does not want power, making love or amusement. So that it can be said that id is in the individuals nature. Another aspect of id is that it's characterized by a tremendous and amorphous order. Its order is to meet its desire, without an eye to the results. Quite simply, identification is lawless, asocial and amoral. Its function is to gratify our intuition for pleasure without regard for interpersonal conventions, legal rules, or moral restraint. If one only desires to satisfy his / her impulses for pleasures, disregarding cultural guidelines and moral conditions, he or she should come to his or her self-deconstruction or do injury to other people, even the modern culture.

As it is stated above, id has dangerous potentialities. As a result, there has to be something that can avoid the id from doing dangerous things. In the booklet: A handbook of Critical Strategies in Books, which is written by John K. Willingham, it is written that " in view of the id's dangerous potentialities, it's important that other psychic companies protect the average person and society. The first of these regulating firms which protects the average person is the ego. This is actually the rational governing agent of the psyche. It regulates the instinctual drives of the id so that they may be produces in nondestructive behavioral habits. In popular terminology, we might say that the ego means reason and circumspection, while the id stands for the untamed passions. Whereas the id is governed exclusively by the pleasure principle, the ego is governed by the truth principle. While identification is the dark facet of individual being's personality, ego is the rational, logical, waking area of the wind.

As above has described, ego is one of these regulating organizations that protect the average person and society, there exists another psychic agency, superego. While ego is the rational, logical, waking part of the mind of every person, superego is the ethnical taboos, such as communal rules and moral standards. In the book, A handbook of Critical Techniques in Literature, John K. Willingham also mentions that: "The superego will serve to repress or inhibit the drives of the identification, to obstruct off and thrust back into the unconscious those impulses toward pleasure that population regards as unacceptable, such as overt hostility, erotic passions, and the Oedipal instinct. Freud features the development of the superego to the parental impact that manifests itself in terms of abuse for what world considers being bad habit and prize for what world considers good tendencies. An overactive superego creates an unconscious sense of guilt". If one only follows cultural taboos and neglects his or her own feeling and desire, probably she or he becomes a machine which is runned by guidelines.

Thus, the superego is at immediate opposition to the id. The superego determines which desire the id contains can be fulfilled. And the ego, or the mindful self that experience the external world through the senses, between id and superego, and all three are described by their relationship; no acts separately of others; a change in one always will involve changes in the other two. Then if can be figured the ego is the total amount between the id and the superego. In this manner, the ego is, to a sizable degree, the product of conflicts between what the society says we can not have and what we want to have.

. Historical Background

As superego is what the society says, historical track record must be launched so that a much better understanding of the mental struggle of Dimmesdale can be achieved. Puritans came up to New Britain to apply their religion, which is their chief motivation when they emerged to the " new world ". In this new world, they established a tiny civilized community from the wilderness. At the start, they had to fight against nature; here the type refers to the environment that was not intruded by human being, in order to live on. But later, they combated individuals nature---suppressing natural joys and pleasure, negating all love, which they considered as wilderness. Puritans pretended that their own civilization hadn't and should not have any of the components of the wilderness in it. They are simply, in truth, the opponents of mother nature and pretend to embody everything this is the opposite of the wilderness and aspect. They give attention to world and civilization extremely. All the they adopt is part of civilization: the cathedral, spiritual education, intellect somewhat than feeling; rigid forms and rules rather than independence. Because Puritans believe God will punish the complete community only if one member of the community did bad behavior. So that is the reason why Puritans are so intense in punishing moral infraction.

. Issues manifested in Dimmesdale

As has mentioned above, the id is people's desire of most kinds, like the sexual desire, enthusiasm and ambition. Each one of these three are possessed by Dimmesdale. Although they are in the type of human being, they are considered as wilderness and suppressed by the Puritans' contemporary society. Dimmesdale, in the eyes of local governors, his colleagues and the united states participants, is a holy minister. But first of all, he's a human being and a healthy son, thus he has sexual desire, enthusiasm and ambition which is suppressed by the population. Dimmesdale is a dilemma, similarly, his id requests him to fulfill his pleasure, disregarding the social rules and moral standards; on the other palm, his awareness, reason and morality inhibits him from doing bad things. As a result, Dimmesdale is obviously in conflicts which can be described by many instances in the novel.

As mentioned above, the id is our desire of most kind such as sexual desire, which is at the nature of individual. But the erotic enthusiasm is repressed by the superego. The scarlet letter A means adultery, which is the result from sexual passion of Hester and Dimmesdale. Thus, Dimmesdale has. In order to satisfy his libido, he slept with a woman who's already wedded to someone else. As it is said before, the Puritan modern culture established cruel abuse for these who got committed offense and the punishment for adultery for the reason that time was loss of life sentence. If a woman commits adultery, one may easily see from her physical form. For example, people can certainly note that Hester has slept with other man as a result of absence of her husband, for the reason that she gave delivery to a child. Consequently, she is punished by the society. Dimmesdale is a guy, you can not notify whether he has determined adultery or not from his physical form. But does indeed this mean that he is clear of the social laws and regulations? No. Superego manifests itself in punishment. Also, an overactive superego creates guilty feeling. Although Dimmesdale by concealing his technique isn't punished, every day he is tortured by his guilty feeling. The guilty sense manifests itself in the physical decrease of Dimmesdale: "His form grew emaciated; his speech, though still abundant and sweet, acquired a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it; he was often witnessed, on any small security alarm or other immediate accident, to put his hand over his heart and soul with first a remove and a paleness, indicative of pain. " In Hawthorne's point of view: "evil educated". The adultery dedicated by Dimmesdale is wicked, since it not only breaks regulations but also the moral ethics. Dimmesdale learns from the bad. And later he obeys interpersonal rules. This is explained by one example, that is when he profits from the forest where he and Hester kept a long have a discussion, he fits "the youngest sister of them all. It was a maiden newly-won-and gained by the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale's own sermon, on the Sabbath after his vigil-to barter the transitory pleasures of the world for the heavenly hope that was to assume brighter material as life grew dark around her, and which would gild the utter gloom with final glory. She was good and pure as a lily that had bloomed in Heaven. The minister recognized well that he was himself enshrined within the stainless sanctity of her heart, which hung its snowy curtains about his image, imparting to religion the heat of love, also to love a religious purity. Satan, that afternoon, possessed surely led the poor young girl from her mother's aspect, and thrown her into the pathway of the sorely enticed, or-shall we not somewhat say?-this lost and eager man. As she drew nigh, the arch-fiend whispered him to condense into small compass, and drop into her tender bosom a germ of evil that would be sure to blossom darkly soon, and carry black berry betimes. " He would like to take advantage of her to satisfy his libido, but the awareness, the ego, stops him from doing incorrect thing again. Then the result is the fact that: "So-with a mightier have difficulties than he had yet sustained-he presented his Geneva cloak before his face, and hurried onward, making no sign of reputation, and giving the young sister to absorb his rudeness as she might. " This example can best explain that Dimmesdale discovers from his misdoing and now he is able to balance the id and superego better. While superego is one of the psychic organizations that can repress or inhibit the drives of the id, such as libido, if one only practices social rules, he could become something that is unnatural. For example, Dimmesdale leads the city to think that he's too pure to look at a sexual union even in relationship by refusing others' recommendation that he should get hitched for the sake of his health.

While he represses his erotic passion and pretends to be saintly, he tries to confess the truth of his passionate mother nature as well as his work, of course in comfortably safe and standard terms. At the same time, he also makes an attempt to confess his bad. And this can be seen in his midnight vigil. He stands on the scaffold, and speaks out the trick which he dare not say in the extensive daylight.

Dimmesdale not only owns sexual love, but also the passion of another kind, anger. Dimmesdale, a pale and passive minister in others' eyes, possesses anger, which really is a resolved part of his basic aspect, which is the identification of Dimmesdale. But it is nothing like sexual love which he suppresses and refuses to acknowledge to the rest of the community, Dimmesdale loses his temper twice in the book. The very first time he loses his temper in when Chillingworth asks him to confess his technique to him, but Dimmesdale refuses and strolls from the room. Along with the old doctor observes: "But see, now, how passion takes hold after this man, and hurrieth him out of himself! As with one passion so with another. He hath done a wild thing ere now, this pious Master Dimmesdale, in the hot enthusiasm of his center. "

Another example is when in the forest, Hester instructs Dimmesdale the identity of Chillingworth, Dimmesdale's fury is referred to as "the assault of passion".


The id pertains not only to sexual desire and love, but also ambition, which is also, is based on individual. Ambition, on one hand, is this content of the identification, which is the type of individual; on the other hands, it pertains to the society, pertains to what the world considers and says. Dimmesdale, as referred to in the book, is "young clergyman, who possessed result from one of the fantastic English universities, getting all the learning of this into our outdoors forest land. His eloquence and religious fervour experienced already given the earnest of high eminence in his job. He was a person of very striking aspect, with a white, lofty, and impending brow; large, brown, melancholy sight, and a oral cavity which, unless when he forcibly compressed it, was apt to be tremulous, expressing both stressed sensibility and an enormous power of self restraint. Notwithstanding his high native items and scholar-like attainments, there is an air relating to this young minister-an apprehensive, a startled, a half-frightened look-as of any being who believed himself quite astray, and at a loss in the pathway of individuals existence, and may only be relaxed in some seclusion of his own. Therefore, so far as his tasks would permit, he trod in the shadowy by-paths, and therefore held himself simple and childlike, approaching forth, when occasion was, with a freshness, and scent, and dewy purity of thought, which, as many people said, influenced them like tile speech of your angel. " He involves the new world to the " new world " to fulfill his ambition that is his desire to be a great and reverend minister in the Puritan world. What Dimmesdale concerns most is not his fan Hester nor his child Pearl, but how many other people think about him and exactly how it will impact his career. Within the governor's hall, when the governor and more want to take Pearl from Hester, Dimmesdale does not stick out to help Hester until she requests help. He helps Hester not because his love for her, but he's frightened that Hester may not keep the secret any longer. It is for his own sake the he talks for Hester.

In the forest, when Hester discloses the identity of Chillingworth to him, he only believes of his solution being exposed. He confesses to Hester that he has resided with horror that someone might find out that Pearl appears like him and think that he's her dad. When Dimmesdale comes back to the town from his ending up in Hester, he feels relieved that she's not prepared to leave Boston immediately. This may best illustrate his base ambition.

"The minister got inquired of Hester, without little interest, the precise time at which the vessel might be likely to depart. It would probably be on the fourth day from today's. 'This is most lucky!' he previously then thought to himself. Now, why the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale considered it so very lucky we be reluctant to uncover. Nevertheless-to hold nothing back again from the reader-it was because, on the 3rd day from today's, he was to preach the Election Sermon; and, as such an occasion shaped an honorable epoch in the life of a fresh Britain Clergyman, he cannot have chanced after a more suitable mode and time of terminating his professional profession. 'At least, they shall say of me, ' thought this exemplary man, 'that I leave no open public duty unperformed or ill-performed!"


It can be figured, the scarlet letter A on the bosom of Dimmesdale may means adultery, which is his libido; anguish, his strong passion; and also ambition, his prefer to success. Thus the scarlet letter A is the id of Dimmesdale, which is also his basic mother nature. But the population in which he lives fight all these human being nature, Dimmesdale similarly wants to satisfy all his desire; on the other side, he is aware of social guidelines and moral ethics and cares about what the world says. Consequently Dimmesdale is in a problem.

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