Buku The Sublime Engine by Stephen Amidon

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The Sublime Engine by Stephen Amidon

Author:Stephen Amidon

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale

Published: 2011-07-08T16:00:00+00:00

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The Sublime Engine by Stephen Amidon

The victim was for ever on the rack; it needed only to know the spring that controlled the engine;—and the physician knew it well! Would he startle him with sudden fear? As at the waving of a magician’s wand, uprose a grisly phantom,—uprose a thousand phantoms,—in many shapes, of death, or more awful shame, all flocking round about the clergyman, and pointing with their fingers at his breast!

Chillingworth is pictured not only as an inquisitor, but also as something of a grave robber: “He now dug into the poor clergyman’s heart, like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom, but likely to find nothing save mortality and corruption.” He even taunts his patient when he tells Dimmesdale that he has found strange, hideous plants growing on the unmarked grave of some poor sinner. The cunning cuckold suggests that the black weeds “have taken upon themselves to keep him in remembrance. They grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during his lifetime.” Dimmesdale, clearly stung by these barbs, contradicts his physician, telling him that the unburdening of human hearts on Judgment Day creates not a tangle of weeds, but rather a beautiful flowering of joy and deliverance. “And I conceive, moreover, that the hearts holding such miserable secrets as you speak of will yield them up, at that last day, not with reluctance, but with a joy unutterable.”

This point of view highlights another aspect of Dimmesdale’s character that is wholly in keeping with the era’s view of the heart: his compassion. The same sensitivity that causes him to suffer also endows him with a unique sensitivity to the pain of his fellow human beings. The Puritan shows himself to have something in common with Rousseau and Wordsworth: an acutely feeling heart. “His intellectual gifts, his moral perceptions, his power of experiencing and communicating emotion,” the reader is told, “were kept in a state of preternatural activity by the prick and anguish of his daily life.” Dimmesdale is said to belong to that class of preachers capable of “addressing the whole human brotherhood in the heart’s native language.” He possesses “sympathies so intimate with the sinful brotherhood of mankind; so that his heart vibrated in unison with theirs, and received their pain into itself, and sent its own throb of pain through a thousand other hearts, in gushes of sad, persuasive eloquence.”

 

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The Sublime Engine by Stephen Amidon

Author:Stephen Amidon , Date: July 9, 2019

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Author:Stephen Amidon

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale

Published: 2011-07-08T16:00:00+00:00
The victim was for ever on the rack; it needed only to know the spring that controlled the engine;—and the physician knew it well! Would he startle him with sudden fear? As at the waving of a magician’s wand, uprose a grisly phantom,—uprose a thousand phantoms,—in many shapes, of death, or more awful shame, all flocking round about the clergyman, and pointing with their fingers at his breast!

Chillingworth is pictured not only as an inquisitor, but also as something of a grave robber: “He now dug into the poor clergyman’s heart, like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man’s bosom, but likely to find nothing save mortality and corruption.” He even taunts his patient when he tells Dimmesdale that he has found strange, hideous plants growing on the unmarked grave of some poor sinner. The cunning cuckold suggests that the black weeds “have taken upon themselves to keep him in remembrance. They grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during his lifetime.” Dimmesdale, clearly stung by these barbs, contradicts his physician, telling him that the unburdening of human hearts on Judgment Day creates not a tangle of weeds, but rather a beautiful flowering of joy and deliverance. “And I conceive, moreover, that the hearts holding such miserable secrets as you speak of will yield them up, at that last day, not with reluctance, but with a joy unutterable.”

This point of view highlights another aspect of Dimmesdale’s character that is wholly in keeping with the era’s view of the heart: his compassion. The same sensitivity that causes him to suffer also endows him with a unique sensitivity to the pain of his fellow human beings. The Puritan shows himself to have something in common with Rousseau and Wordsworth: an acutely feeling heart. “His intellectual gifts, his moral perceptions, his power of experiencing and communicating emotion,” the reader is told, “were kept in a state of preternatural activity by the prick and anguish of his daily life.” Dimmesdale is said to belong to that class of preachers capable of “addressing the whole human brotherhood in the heart’s native language.” He possesses “sympathies so intimate with the sinful brotherhood of mankind; so that his heart vibrated in unison with theirs, and received their pain into itself, and sent its own throb of pain through a thousand other hearts, in gushes of sad, persuasive eloquence.”

In the end, Dimmesdale does not flee with Prynne, but instead publicly unburdens himself of his sins before his flock, a confession that culminates in his literally baring his chest to reveal that mysterious stigma. Hawthorne never makes clear the exact nature of this mark. Most in the crowd report seeing a scarlet letter that mirrors the one Prynne has been forced to wear, though the author leaves open the possibility that the vision of the blot was the product of some sort of mass delusion.

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