Essay, Research Paper: Scarlet Letter

Literature: Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In the book The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a character by the name
of Roger Chillingworth had committed the unpardonable sin and he basically
killed another character, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Everyone has been in a
position where they have had the chance of manipulating or blackmailing someone.
Chillingworth did exactly that and ended up breaking down Dimmesdale to his
death. Dimmesdale was not the single one affected by Chillingworth’s deeds.
Chillingworth had a spouse, but no one knew of their relationship. Her name was
Hester Prynne and she had an illegitimate child named Pearl. The Reverend
Dimmesdale had an affair with Hester, and he is the real father of Pearl.
Throughout the novel the people of Boston were withheld this information, along
with the information of Hester’s real husband. Chillingworth was a physician,
or back in those days a doctor was called a leech. Dimmesdale started to feel
ill, thus starting the beginning of his end. Dimmesdale became not simply a
patient of Chillingworth, but a roommate as well. Being in such close contact
with Dimmesdale, Chillingworth has come to know the minister’s most private
emotions, and he has begun to suspect that Dimmesdale’s illness is the result
of a deep secret that has at no time been confided with another. In a
sequestered conversation with Hester, Chillingworth made a vow to descry the
real father of Pearl, and expose him. In a conversation with Dimmesdale,
Chillingworth brings up the question of why an individual would be willing to
carry “secret sins” to his grave sooner than confess them during his
lifetime. Dimmesdale and Chillingworth exchange their thoughts. One of
Chillingworth’s was, “Wouldst thou have me to believe, O wise and pious
friend, that a false show can be better-can be more for God’s glory, or
man’s welfare-than God’s own truth? Trust me, such men deceive
themselves!” To this Dimmesdale feels uneasy and changes the subject. The
execution of this act caused Chillingworth to become suspicious. A few days
later, Chillingworth found Dimmesdale asleep in a chair. Chillingworth silently
approached Dimmesdale. Once Chillingworth had reached his destination, he
swiftly removed Dimmesdale’s church robe and saw the scarlet letter on the
chest before him, hence ending Chillingworth’s search for the father of Pearl.
Now that Chillingworth knew Hester and Dimmesdale’s secret, his metamorphosis
was complete. Chillingworth had gone from a caring individual to a devil.
Chillingworth acknowledges this, he says in a conversation with Hester, “Dost
thou remember me? Was I not, though you might deem me cold, nevertheless a man
thoughtful for others, craving little for himself,--kind, true, just, and of
constant, if not warm affections?….And what I am now?….I have already told
thee what I am! A fiend! Who made me so?!” Chillingworth believes Dimmesdale
made him into a “fiend”. To Chillingworth, Dimmesdale was weak and had what
was coming to him. Hawthorne speaks of Chillingworth’s death with no emotion,
even though Chillingworth played a large role in the death of Dimmesdale.
Chillingworth tortured Dimmesdale to his death. Chillingworth proclaimed
“hadst thou sought the whole earth over there was no one place so secret—no
high place nor lowly place where thou couldst have escaped me—save on this
very scaffold!” Dimmesdale had finally out of captivity. In addition,
Dimmesdale asks God to forgive Chillingworth of his sin. Chillingworth could no
longer bother Dimmesdale. In the last chapter of the book, Nathaniel Hawthorne
tells of how Robert Chillingworth withered up and shriveled away. Hawthorne
acquaints that the physician’s fate was the most horrible of the three because
his sin was the darkest. In the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne
depicts Chillingworth as a stranger, but also as a compassionate man.
Chillingworth made a deal with Hester that he will not tell everyone that he is
her husband. Chillingworth does a little investigating on Dimmesdale because of
Dimmesdale’s unusual acts and behavior. After finding out the truth,
Chillingworth begins to torment Dimmesdale up till his last breath.
Chillingworth forced Hester to keep her vow of silence in which she would not
reveal his relationship with her as her spouse to anyone. In conclusion,
Chillingworth performed the inadmissible sin in which he vexes Reverend
Dimmesdale to his ultimate doom.

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