The Scarlet Letter Chapter 23 Summary And Analysis
After Dimmesdale’s sermon on Election Day, the congregation leaves his powerful words inspired the church. This marks Dimmesdale’s most triumphant moment in his public life. The crowd is highly excited as the people pay tribute to the minister.
Not long afterward, the jubilation reduces to a murmur as Dimmesdale begins tottering nervously and feebly in the procession.
He turns towards the scaffold and summons Hester and Pearl to come by his side. Chillingworth suddenly emerges and unsuccessfully attempts to halt the minister. Hester assists Dimmesdale up the scaffold. Chillingworth is now dumbfounded as he sees Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl on the scaffold.
Dimmesdale informs Hester he is dying and must reveal his dark secret. He after that turns facing the crowd and reveals that he also bears the sign of his sin within his heart. Dimmesdale asks for God’s pardon and also prays for Chillingworth who has now sunk in defeat. Hester asks if they will be together in the afterlife, but Dimmesdale says it is up to God.
Chapter 23 Analysis
All the major characters are once again together. The sermon by Dimmesdale is an individual triumph. He gave up everything at the scaffold. He feels his relationship with God cannot be built on a lie, and he cannot run away from the truth.
Dimmesdale must make an individual confession. Even if Hester assists him up the scaffold, she is unable to assist him in finding peace with God. Mr. Wilson and Governor Bellingham who symbolize the church and state respectively, also try to hold him, but Dimmesdale resists.
The minister asks Hester if the confession is better than escaping, but Hester prefers if the three of them had died together. She will be left with no love or life save for her loneliness.
Pearl can now begin a new life of happiness and love. Her spell is now broken, and she will now be able to socialize with other humans, find love & live a long, happy life. Chillingworth no longer has a victim to torment but receives a blessing from Dimmesdale. This shows that vengeance generally consumes its carrier.