As the reader (hopefully) knows, Hester wore a scarlet "A" on her bosom as a way for her to "redeem" herself from her sinful actions. The "A" was meant to be a symbol for sin, shame, and guilt for the crimes that Hester committed yet it transformed into a symbol of empowerment for her. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, experiences feelings of guilt and horror overcoming his soul. In fact, "there had long been, the gnawing and poisonous tooth of bodily pain" (123) that he was slowly succumbing to. Dimmesdale's chest pain is symbolic of the feelings that Hester went through due to her punishment.