The procession starts while Hester is still thinking about Chillingworth’s smile. The soldiers arrive followed by political figures and finally, Dimmesdale himself. He is exhibiting great energy and a strong sense of purpose.
The chapter focuses on how Hester reacts to Dimmesdale. He now seems so far from the person she met three days ago at the forest. She senses the great distance between them and cannot forgive him for being so distant. Pearl also fails to recognize him.
Mistress Hibbins then comes and informs Hester that she is aware that Dimmesdale has a sin similar to hers. She further explains that it is easy to identify a fellow sinner instinctively, and everybody is about to know the minister’s sin.
As Dimmesdale delivers his speech, Hester can hear the hopelessness and sadness in his tone since she strongly sympathizes with his heart. The shipmaster gives Pearl a message meant for Hester. It states that Chillingworth has booked a space for Dimmesdale and himself on the ship. Hester looks around and notices the very faces she saw at the initial scaffold scene.
Analysis of the Chapter 22
The author’s description of Hester’s emotional response to the minister’s remoteness eliminates the possibility of a future together. Hester imagines that their meeting at the forest must have been a dream. She also cannot forgive Dimmesdale for backtracking on their plans of living together.
Mistress Hibbins foreshadows the gloomy ending, and this emphasizes the intuitive abilities of the human heart. The same case applies when Hester recognizes the voices within Dimmesdale’s heart. His tone is pleading for forgiveness.
These sinners must be brought together with their only escape avenue blocked by Chillingworth. In the end, the main characters are getting closer and closer to the revelation of the truth.