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When Dimmesdale returns from the forest, he barely manages to keep from doing a series of unholy things.

What has caused him to almost act in such a reckless manner?


"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered..." (177)


"At least they shall say of me... that I leave no public duty unperformed, nor ill performed!" (177)


"As he drew near the town, he took an impression of change from the series of familiar objects that presented themselves." (177)


"This phenomenon, in the various shapes which it assumed, indicated no external change..." (178)


"And even with this terror in his heart, he could hardly avoid laughing..." (179)

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