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The Scarlet Letter - Chapter 11
Transcript of The Scarlet Letter - Chapter 11
The Interior of a Heart
Every chapter has been fairly straight forward with its title of the chapter apart from this one. Could you explain the significance of the chapter title and how it occurs within the chapter?
With all the information that Roger Chillingworth knew about Dimmesdale, their relationship began to change significantly.
Chillingworth became really involved with everything happening with Dimmesdale.
Chillingworth wanted revenge on Dimmesdale but in a subtle way so Dimmesdale doesn’t notice. So, he began to manipulate Dimmesdale by making Dimmesdale believe that he can trust him.
Dimmesdale confided in Chillingworth for everything.Chillingworth was an unforgiving man so he would hold on to the information that Dimmesdale confided in him and use them to plot a plan of revenge.
Dimmesdale then reached a point when he decided that he hated Chillingworth more than he hoped. However, he realized that nothing came out of hating Chillingworth so he ignored his feelings about Chillingworth and devoted them to his sickness which was more important.
Although Dimmesdale was very ill, he still preached great sermons in his ministry. His great sermons came from his pains and troubles.
Dimmesdale was finally thinking of confessing his sin but since he could not, he decides to self punish himself. He would beat himself with a whip.This caused him to have visions/ hallucinations.
by: Kene Aniagboso & Marie Carr
Do Now Explained...
(Page 114) “The minister well knew-subtle, but remorseful hypocrite that he was!-the light in which his vague confession would be viewed. He had striven to put a cheat upon himself by making the avowal of guilty conscience…..self deceived.” - There's irony in how Dimmesdale is eaten alive by his guilt and wants to confess to the public his sins but his anguish comes through in beautiful moving sermons that cause the public to admire him further. They believe that Dimmesdale is in fact holier than they believed him to be before.
(Page 111) “....the Pitiless, to him, the Unforgiving ! All that dark treasure to be lavished on the very man, to whom nothing else could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance !
(Page 112) “....poor forlorn creature that he was, and more wretched than his victim-the avenger had devoted himself.”- Chillingworth manipulated Dimmesdale so that he can plot revenge. Throughout the chapter, we see how evil Chillingworth truly is. Chillingworth became the human personification of evil.
Dimmesdale begins feeling guilt in his heart and sorrow. It focuses on how he wants to confess but because of his power in the community/ influence he cannot so his guilt eats him up. Also the title represents the sorrow inside Dimmesdale’s heart and what he wants to do about the sin. He feels nothing but pain in his heart which is why it is called interior of the heart because it goes in depth with how his emotions are changing him.
Heart (Sorrow, Guilt and Revenge)
Within Chapter 11 of the Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale began being eaten alive by his guilt. His heart is filled with anguish fueled by his knowledge of his sins and hypocrisy. He wants to confess, but because of his position in the community he is unable to bring himself only worsening his current status. The thought process behind this chapter is that you really get a view into Dimmesdale’s emotions and how he is coping with the guilt from his sins that he committed with Hester. The interior of his heart was congested with his grief that drove him mad. The chapter gives an in depth description on how Dimmesdale acts with an unclear heart.
So, throughout the chapter, as he is feeling guilty and sorrowful, his actions might start to depict those emotions. Then with Chillingworth, with the emotion of vengeance overpowering him, he becomes very evil and manipulative. His true character is shown.
“ The aged members of his flock, beholding Mr. Dimmesdale’s frame so feeble, while they were themselves so rugged in their infirmity, believed that he would go heavenward before them, and enjoined it upon their children, that their old bones should be buried close to their young pastor’s holy grave. And, all this time, perchance, when poor Mr. Dimmesdale was thinking of his grave, he questioned with himself whether the grass would ever grow on it, because an accursed thing must there be buried!”(113)
This quote is worth referencing because it exemplifies the adoration Dimmesdale's supporters had for him, whilst he spiraled down in his self hatred, questioning the fate of his soul and how his sins would damn him to hell.
We chose a simplistic background for the presentation to represent the ideal puritan lifestyle that the Boston Puritan’s often strayed away from, desiring grandeur and extravagancy. Although the scarlet letter in the story is splendid stitched in gold and red intricacies, the red in the background although attention grabbing within its color is far more simple and appropriate.
A Tormented Heart.