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The Minister's Vigil
Transcript of The Minister's Vigil
by: ryan thayer, connor duhaime Chapter Overview The chapter opens with Mr. Dimmesdale wondering about the scaffold
He climbs it, and as recalls Hester's punishment upon it, he wished he had been there with her that day
Dimmesdale debates to himself about confessing, and what would become of him if he were discovered on the scaffold
He attempts to wake the sleeping town so they could see his sin by yelling into the night, but his efforts prove futile
A short time later, he sees Hester Prynne and Pearl from the scaffold and invites them up with him
They stand there as a family, and Pearl asks Dimmesdale if he will stand on the scaffold with Hester and her tomorrow
Dimmesdale declines, but he vows one day to do so
The group is then met by Roger Chillingworth and Dimmesdale is escorted home with the man leaving Hester and Pearl once again on the scaffold Title Significance The Minister's Vigil has two significant topics
The minister refers to Arthur Dimmesdale
Vigil means being consistently awake during a time of sleep
This chapter will go through Mr. Dimmelsdale's thougths and actions during his episode of insomnia Quote I: page 144 "Poor, miserable man! what right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once. This feeble and most sensitive of spirits could do neither, yet continually did one thing or another, which intertwined, in the same inextricable knot, the agony of Heaven-defying guilt and vain repentance." Analysis of Quote I This passage describes Mr. Dimmesdale and the intense pain that came with the secrecy of him crime. The narrator notes that crime is for the "iron nerved" people that can stand having sin within them. He goes on to say that if they can't keep it within them, they will use their last bit of energy they have and free themselves from the pain. Dimmesdale, both physically and psychologically weakened can do neither of those things, but he tried for seven years to keep the sin within him. Either way, each side of the dilemma is followed by an extreme decision. If Dimmesdale were to confess, he would be jailed and shunned out of society, but if he were to keep the sin within him he might eventually see no reason to continue in the world, and thus end his pain through suicide. Quote II: page 147 "Good heavens! Had Mr. Dimmesdale actually spoken? For one instant, he believed that these words had passed his lips. But they were uttered only within his imagination. The venerable Father Wilson continued to step slowly onward, looking carefully at the muddy pathway before his feet, and never once turning his head towards the guilty platform." Analysis of Quote II This passage is one of Mr. Dimmesdale's attempts to confess his sin by being noticed. He desperately wants to confess his sin but he still can't face the consequences that will come with it. In his mind he has confessed, but he had never actually said anything to Mr. Wilson. This is an important change in character for the reverend because he originally turned the other way and did not acknowledge and support Hester. Now, however, there is little standing in the way of him confessing. He now feels that there is one more thing to do before he confesses his sin, and frees himself of his pain. Quote III: page 149 "“Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide?” inquired Pearl.
“Not then, Pearl,” said the minister, “but another time”
“And what other time?” persisted the child.
“At the great judgment day” whispered the minister." Analysis of Qoute III This quote shows Mr. Dimmesdale's willingness to one day confess publicly. The seven years of torment that he has kept inside of him, is now all but gone. Mr. Dimmesdale is ready to confess to the town, because he wants to be with Pearl, and he wants to alleviate the pain of his sin. The passage is essential because it shows a deeper development of each "side" of Dimmesdale. He is now ready to recognize Hester, and be together with his family. This new change of heart has compelled him to live with the sin a few more days, and fulfill his role as "teacher of truth" to the fullest. He uses this time to spread the word of truth and god to others. Mr. Dimmesdale, being a minister, saw the Great Judgment Day as a fit time to confess his sin. Symbol For the symbol of this chapter we chose the character 2-face from Batman. This character represents Mr. Dimmesdale because it shows the two sides of him that become apparent in this chapter. The one side of Mr. Dimmesdale that has been seen so far in the book is denial and secrecy of his sin. The other side, which came out in great detail in this chapter, is willingness and acceptance to confess his sin. He goes back and forth about this decision throughout the chapter, and similar to the Batman movie, he ultimately decides to make a good choice and confess his sin; to free himself of the pain. FIN