In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter the failure to be true always leads to a painful consequence. Hester, Dimmsdale, and Chillingworth all withhold truth from someone else, and in doing so they all manage to cause someone else some sort of pain. .
Hester breaks the trust of her husband when she cheats on Chillingworth with Dimmsdale. This, however, would have never come to pass if Chillingworth had never thought that he could make her marry an older, deformed man she could never love and have the marriage work. Even Chillingworth knew it beforehand: "I might have known that [as I] entered this establishment of Christian men the very first object to meet my eyes would be thyself, Hester Prynn, standing up, a statue of ignominy, before the people"(51). The direct result of her sin was being cut off from the community, which would be the start of the painful consequence, and the birth of Pearl, which, although painful, is not part of the painful consequence. .
Dimmsdale betrays the trust of his church and community by hiding his sin of adultery and not telling them that he is the one who committed adultery with Hester. This causes Dimmsdale to live an unhealthy life of guilt. Soon after Hester is publicly humiliated "The health of Mr. Dimmsdale evidently began to fail"(82). Chillingworth worsened Dimmsdale's health throughout the book. Because of his lie he suffered and never was free until he was a few seconds prior to his death. Dimmsdale realizes this near his end: " I am a dying man. So let me make haste to take my shame upon me."(174). .
Chillingworth is the one character who attempts to mislead in order to cause someone to suffer. This puts him in a different category, because he tries to do evil. His torture of Chillingworth turns him into some sort of demented parasite. After Dimmsdale dies Chillingworth soon follows and dies. "All his strength and energy -all his vital and intellectual force- seemed at once to desert him insomuch that he positively withered up-(177).