Analyzing Hawthorne's view of the members of the clergy as depicted in the novel.
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I think the clergy is represented through the character of the tortured priest Dimmesdale. I think Hawthorne saw Puritan clergy in the Scarlet Letter as living under impossible hypocritical pressure of the narrow ideology. Dimmesdale truly meant well but his repressed passions and secrets (of passion) tore him apart. Dimmesdale could not be a man as well as a priest. He was forced to lead a life void of joy. He had to uphold a saintly sickness to prove his fidelity to God.