Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, the characters of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are all individually affected by sin and the guilt accompanied with it. Each character with their own unique sin, struggle through the experience in their own unique way. Each sin is oddly intertwined with each other which makes for interesting effects on the individuals and the ways they deal with their sin. .
Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is perhaps the character most heavily afflicted by his sin of adultery. He is the father of Hester Prynne's child Dimmesdale has committed this sin as a man of God and as a prominent figure in the community. This adds to the pressure and guilt already upon him. Dimmesdale feels guilty because he cannot confess his sin to the congregation and he also left Hester to suffer the situation by herself. He feels so guilt ridden he tortures himself. Fasting and physical torture are Dimmesdale remedies for his sin but even these do not soothe his troubled soul. Although nobody knows Rev. Dimmesdale has committed adultery he suffers both physically and mentally from the situation. Hawthorne makes this point evident when he says, "His form grew emaciated; his voice, though still rich and sweet, had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it; he was often observed, on any slight alarm or other sudden accident, to put his hand over his heart, with first a flush and then a paleness, indicative of pain." Physically Dimmesdale constantly looks sick and in pain. He makes a habit of clutching at his heart as if the secret of his sin is slowly eating away at his soul. Mentally Dimmesdale seems to be a disturbed man. A few times during the novel Dimmesdale hallucinates due to the guilt of his sin. One such example, he is lying up at night and sees Hester and Pearl in her scarlet dress. Pearl points at the scarlet letter on Hester's chest and then points her finger at his own chest.