Within The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the contrast of good and evil through the Reverend Dimmesdale and through his physician, Roger Chillingworth. He also emphasized the necessity to "Be true" through Hester's vow to keep the secrets of both men. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne showed that whether one is outwardly good or evil, one must be true and needs others to be true to him, as well. Dimmesdale and Chillingworth subtly beg Hester to reveal their secrets, thus showing some similarities (as well as differences) between the good and evil portrayed in the story.
Arthur Dimmesdale, by and large, was represented goodness and purity in the story. The entire town revered him and he was a highly respected Reverend. Also, he was generally esteemed for the "holy and pious" life that he led, and the fact that he continued to carry out his holy duties despite his physical ailments. Dimmesdale was even said to be a good looking man, whom all of the virgins in town seemed to lust after. This was a method of showing Dimmesdale's inner beauty and general goodness. It was as if everything Dimmesdale stood for and did was good, and most of the town believed that, but Dimmesdale knew it was not so. He was aware of his secret sin, and several times he asked Hester to reveal him, for he knew he could not do it himself. The pastor once said:.
I charge thee to speak out the name of they 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 be- side 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? (p. 65).
Here, Dimmesdale pleads with Hester to reveal the name of the father of her child.