Paper on Moral Ambiguity - Lindsay Lastinger AP Language...

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Lindsay Lastinger AP Language and Composition Essay II: The Scarlet Letter October 6, 2009 Arthur Dimesdale as a Morally Ambiguous Character “…Morally ambiguous characters-characters whose behavior discourages readers from identifying them as purely evil or purely good-are at the heart of many works of literature…” As stated in the quotation above, morally ambiguous characters are found within almost every story or novel, forcing readers to struggle in their classification of various characters as purely good or purely evil. The Scarlet Letter presents several morally ambiguous characters throughout its context. One character in particular is Reverend Arthur Dimesdale, a man viewed by the public as holy and pure, yet guilty of committing and hiding the sin of adultery. Dimesdale’s moral ambiguity is vital to the storyline of the novel, as it functions as a displayer of one of Hawthorne’s most recognizable themes: secret sin. The character of Dimesdale is also used to illustrate the vast range of imperfections of human nature, and that even the most benevolent of people are guilty of committing sin. Dimesdale committed a sin that he refused to confess for several years, which forced him to carry the unpleasant burden of guilt, ultimately leading to his demise. Morally ambiguous characters help to intensify the plot of any story or novel. Chapter by chapter and line by line readers are left wondering what the character will say or do next, which creates a sense of unpredictability throughout the storyline. If a character is defined as purely good, the sense of unpredictability is lacking, thus leading to a less exciting story. In The Scarlet
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Paper on Moral Ambiguity - Lindsay Lastinger AP Language...

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