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"All is revealed and redeemed in Dimmesdale's final act of confession upon the scaffold. He reveals the scarlet letter that he has imprinted in his own flesh, finally shedding light on his own sin and on his own shame, a shame that he could hardly bear. Here the story illuminates the theme of shame through the motif of the letter in its outward and secret manifestations. Dimmesdale's death essentially sets Hester and Pearl free. Sin is no longer hidden. His death also illustrates the hypocrisy of Puritan piety as well as the unnatural clinging to "godliness" that Puritans hold so tightly to."