The Scarlet Letter

Who is the worst sinner in The Scarlet Letter? Explain.

Dimsdale, Chillingworth, Hester

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I think Chillingworth is the worst sinner because he intentionally set out to destroy Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale didn't intend to cause Hesterbany pain, but confessing his sin to do right by her would have probably led to his execution. Hester's sin was confessed and punished, and she fared better than the other two because of that.

Dimmesdale is the worst sinner in The Scarlet Letter. As a minister, he knows the town people look up to him as a saintly hero. Even though he is aware of the fact that Hester Prynne is married, he still chooses to commit adultery with her, causing Pearl to be born and Hester to be publicly shamed. When given the chance to admit his sin, he opts instead to hide, tortured by his guilt, rather than allow anyone to learn of his imperfection. It takes him seven years, in which his guilt drains his life bit by bit until he’s a shadow of a man, to admit his shame; even then, it’s only in response to the knowledge of his upcoming death.


My AP Language & Composition class is studying The Scarlet Letter.

As a student of a morality class, I believe it is Mr. Chillingworth who is the worst sinner. It is one of the deadliest sins to prolong wrath against someone. As a Catholic, we believe that we should forgive as Jesus did. Resulting to revenge and unforgivingness violates our fundamental character of being loving and good.