As his mental stability falls quickly down into his own hell, Reverend Dimmesdale proves to be the worst off among the main characters. Seven years prior to this point in the novel, Dimmesdale participated in what was considered a heinous crime: adultery. His partner in the crime, Hester Prynne, was punished as she took all the blame for this shared crime and became a pariah of the community. Although he did not face the torment of the community, Dimmesdale faces torment from his inner demons. Throughout the story, the reverend was struggling to cope with the immense guilt of partaking in this crime. The guilt is furthered as Dimmesdale is revered as an angel in this community, but he knows of his own sin. Even though he is not subject to the community's prejudice as Hester had for her involvement of adultery, Reverend Dimmesdale is the worst off of the main characters because of his declining mental state due to the guilt he has for partaking in a great sin.
In the beginning chapters, Hester Prynne stood on a scaffold before the townspeople. Here on the scaffold she was subjected to being an object of condemnation for the community. Hester had accepted her fate as the consequence for her sin. Dimmesdale, refused to fall from grace as Hester did, and kept his involvement a secret. What seems so mocking to the situation later in the book, Reverend Dimmesdale commanded Hester to speak the name of her fellow sinner:.
I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him,-yea, compel him, as it were-to add hypocrisy to sin? Heaven hath granted thee an open ignominy, that thereby thou mayest work out an open triumph over the evil within thee, and the sorrow without.