Dimmesdale’s Masochistic Fantasy: A Deleuzian Reading of The Scarlet Letter

Min YU


Critics differ on Dimmesdale’s masochistic suffering, specifically, on whether masochism ennobles him. Deleuze’s theory reveals the fantasy of male masochists, which arouses disagreements on power relation between male masochist and authority. Dimmesdale, the protagonist of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, chooses masochism under compulsion to maintain both his public position and moral purity. His masochistic performance grants both himself and the readers a masochistic fantasy of ennobling suffering, concealing the fact that a masochist has no courage nor power either to rebel against or to accept reality.


Male Masochism; Deleuze; Dimmesdale; power; performance

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11886


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